Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 27 March 2014 | 4,441 times
The Anambra State Governorship Election Tribunal yesterday adopted the letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recognising Dr. Chike Obidigbo as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 2013 governorship election in the state.
Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Governor Willie Obiano, and that of INEC, Ayotunde Ogunleye, had opposed the acceptance of the letter as evidence based on the fact that the document does not qualify as either original or duplicate but rather a photocopy.
Ikpeazu said: “A letter submitted to INEC to which they must take custody of becomes a public document, it is only a certified true copy that can be admissible evidence. Their case is that they submitted a document to INEC, that document can no longer be a private document. The document sought to be tendered does not qualify as either original or duplicate but rather a photocopy. I urge that the document be rejected and marked accordingly.”
However, Oba Mmaduabuchi (SAN), counsel to Obidigbo, said that the document was rather the original acknowledgement letter from INEC. He urged the court to overrule the respondents’ stance, saying: “By section 88 of the evidence Act, all primary documents are admissible upon production and a primary document is the primary production of the document itself. We are only tendering the document, not the attachment.”
Giving the tribunal’s verdict, the Chairman, Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello, said that though the document bear no name and was not listed on the submission of the counsel, that it would be admitted as evidence E001.
Justice Bello further said that it was the desire of the tribunal to leave no stone unturned, adding that sometimes bench rulings would be made in order to speed up the tribunal’s pace of work.
“Any error made will be taken in good faith bearing in mind that we are humans and we are not above mistakes. Where we commit errors, we are not trying to be vindictive but doing our duties. We are desirous that justice and fairness are applied,” Justice Bello said.
However, Mmaduabuchi asked the court to grant him adjournment so as to enable him put up a motion for form CE001 to be included in his list of documents as the striking out of many paragraphs earlier by the tribunal has left him with minimal documents to fall back on. To this, the tribunal gave him till Friday, March 28, 2014.
•Photo shows Dr. Obidigbo.
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