Candidate of the peoples Democratic party, Eyitayo Jegede has begun defending his petition filed over the 2020 Ondo State Governorship election.
Jegede began his defence by tendering some documents in respect of the October poll through his lawyer, Onyechi ikpeazu and which were admitted by the Tribunal despite objection from opposing Counsel.
ORANGE FM’s Igbekele Ologun reports that the PDP Candidate was in the witness box for over an hour to defend his petition.
At the resumed sitting of the Ondo state 2020 governorship election petition tribunal, the proceedings began with a joint application by counsels asking the tribunal to increase the number of counsels representing each party from the initial 5 stated in the pre-trial report at the last hearing on December 17 2020 to 10 including all SANs billed to appear for the matter.
Counsel to the All Progressives Congress, Lateef Fagbemi said their job at the tribunal would be made easier once they have a handful of Junior lawyers to work with.
In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Abubakar said taking into cognisance the rampaging Covid-19 and its attendant effect, the number of people that would have access to the court will be limited.
He ruled that the number of counsels to represent each party per sitting be increased from 5 to 7 inclusive of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria while political parties will come with one executive member and official.
Counsel to candidate of the PDP, Onyechi ikpeazu therefore informed the court that his team had prepared a schedule of documents to be tendered by the petitioner.
Other counsels on sighting the documents raised objections which led to a 15 minutes stand down to enable counsels to respondents look at the documents while the court later reconvened and continued with proceedings.
The first petitioner, Eyitayo Jegede was also led in examination in chief by ikpeazu during which he identified the the exhibits in his earlier statement deposed before the court.
While being cross examined by counsel to the All Progressives Congress, Lateef Fagbemi, the PDP candidate agreed that he is not a member of the APC nor aware of any court decision challenging the party’s NEC resolution which empowered the Mai Bala Buni led caretaker committee.
While also being cross examined by counsel to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the deputy governor elect, aiyedatiwa, Mr Akin Olujimi, Jegede admitted that he was not a maker of the documents, including the APC constitution which he tendered before the Tribunal.
While Jegede’s counsel declined interview with journalists, counsel to APC Lateef Fagbemi
expressed satisfaction with the formal commencement of the hearing.
Also counsel to INEC Charles Edosomuan and counsel to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the deputy governor elect, Lucky aiyedatiwa, Akin Olujimi said they are happy hearing commenced as scheduled.
Meanwhile, security was tight around the Ondo high Court complex, venue of the sitting with men of the Nigeria Police, DSS and NSCDC keeping eagle eyes on everyone in the vicinity while entry into the court was restricted in compliance with covid 19 protocols.