Ladi Adebutu, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2023 Ogun governorship election, submitted approximately 8,000 documents as exhibits on July 4, 2023, at the tribunal, where he is contesting the victory of Governor Dapo Abiodun.
Governor Abiodun, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reelected in the election held on March 18th. However, Adebutu has alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act, corrupt practices, and other claims.
George Uche (SAN), counsel to Adebutu, presented the documents in several “Ghana-must-go” bags before the tribunal in Abeokuta. Uche informed the court that he had served the three respondents – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Abiodun, and the APC – a 98-page schedule listing all the documents to be presented.
The documents include INEC forms, BVAS reports, ECAs, voters’ registers, and printed IREV results. He also requested the court’s permission to call his witnesses for the commencement of the trial.
However, Peter Olatunbora, counsel to INEC, objected to Uche’s prayers, arguing that the petitioners should have provided the documents to the respondents before presenting them in court.
Kehinde Ogunwunmiju, counsel to Governor Abiodun, also urged the court not to admit the documents as evidence, citing the petitioner’s failure to follow the proper procedure for presenting documents.
Similarly, Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), counsel to the APC, accused the petitioner of attempting to rush the court into accepting the documents as evidence.
In response to the submissions, Hamidu Kunaza, the chairman of the tribunal, granted the respondents two days to review the documents, with the proper hearing scheduled to commence on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists after the ruling, Adebutu’s counsel said, “We arrived with all our documents, in fact, we brought more than ten bags filled with documents. Yesterday, we also submitted a schedule of documents listing all the documents we intend to present. It comprises about 98 pages and includes approximately 8,000 INEC forms, documents, BVAS reports, ECAs, voters’ registers, and printouts from the IREV.”
“However, the respondents requested time to review the documents. In the interest of fair hearing, we agreed to allow them to do so,” the counsel added.
The trial will proceed with the examination of evidence after the respondents have had an opportunity to inspect the documents.