PW 22: Amend His deposition Statement Amidst Objections, at the ongoing Governorship tribunal in Jos.
By Kaze Ashi,Jos.
More witnesses testified at the continuation of trial of the Governorship Petition Tribunal in Jos.
Among those that testified on Tuesday is PW 22, by name Harmony Habila Dellas who said he live in Giring, Jos South LGA.
Immediately after he entered the dock for his affirmation, he informs the court for amendment of his Polling unit code which is written as 010 instead of 006,but the name of the said polling unit is still the same and registration area.
The First Respondent objected to the application of the witness ,I raise the objection because issues have been joined by parties at the said polling unit, he cited page 244 of the second respondents reply to the petition,the Counsel to the Petitioners,S.S Obende objected to the submission of the counsel to the first respondents because he cannot go outside his reply.
W . A Olajide,Counsel to the first respondents, swiftly refered to their own reply to the petition on in page 28 and paragraph 63 and address the court that they joined issues with the Petitioners,hence, the correction is impossible.
Also objecting the Correction,is the second Respondents, Chief G.N Kutu who earlier holds in brief for the second respondents lead Counsel,inform the court that the Honourable tribunal should allowed him to enable his learned silk to take over.
Akubo,My Lords,may I start with ojbection to the amendment of the witness statement, because we have squarely joined issues.
The Counsel refered the tribunal to pages 2 and 3 as well as relief 8E of their reply to the petition,
Learned Silk further refered to page 244,volume 1 of their reply which was filed on the 6-5-2023.
There is no Polling unit in Giring non as Maikirana.
I want the tribunal to disallowed the application,which is totally irredeemable.
The third respondents lead Counsel,Emaka Etiaba SAN, align himself with the the submissions of the first and second respondents to equally object the correction.
In his reply,the Counsel to the Petitioners,S.S Obende,address the court,my Lord’s with due respect,we want the tribunal to discontinuance with the submissions of all the respondents.
Because,the sole ground of the objections is that the parties have joined issues at the polling unit and we submitted therefore,the first respondents have not clearly shown how paragraph 63 of his reply amount to the joining of issues to the amendment sought.
The third respondent on his own, clearly admitted that there is no paragraph on his reply to join issues.
He further buttress that, unless a party is able to show in his pleadings where issues are join on the subject matter.
The second respondents attempt to demonstrate that issues have been joined in regard to his reply in paragraph 8 E however shows that there is a Polling unit known as Maikirana and paragraph 8 E my Lords is not part of the second respondent’s reply to the petition.
Is the pre-reliminary objection,so it is not a pleading, second respondents reply to the petition commence at page 8, little wonder,he has to refered to page 244 and issues are not join on the witness deposition, on pleadings and that’s the state of the law and until that evidence is adopted if not,is not an evidence before the tribunal.
My Lords,non of the respondents have denied that is a misnomer that cannot be corrected,hence,the witness is entitled to the correction.
The Counsel further cited the case of INEC and Action Congress of Nigeria,2009 and second Nigeria Weekly Law report,part 1126: Page 524,I urge my Lords to grant our application.
After all the submissions of all the Counsels,the tribunal stood down for some minutes and resume for her ruling.
After listening to all the submissions of the counsels,no issues has been join and the witness can go ahead and make the amendment.
The Counsel to the Petitioners said in line with the ruling,may the witness statement be amended to read as 006.
He subsequently leads him for examination in chief by showing him his statement and adopted same for the tribunal to use it as evidence.
He was reminded of his statement on oath at paragraphs 4 and 5 and later shown exhibits P 36,Q 48 and C61 which is the Certified True Copy of his Polling unit result, Duplicate and the BVAS report respectively,the respondents objected to the BVAS report that it can’t be identify by the witness because it was not pleaded and the tribunal ruled that such exhibit cannot be identify by the witness.
In his cross Examination,the counsel to the first respondents asked the witness of the time he arrived at his Polling unit on the day of the election. 7am my Lords.
Did you meet the INEC officials there?
No they came and met me..
When asked if he signed the result,he responded yes I did.
The Counsel to the second respondents,P.A Akubo ask if he knows the names of those that were issued with ballot papers by the agents of the first respondents to vote without being verified as he claim in his statement on oath. Said I don’t know their manes.
The Counsel also shown him paragraph 3 of his statement,you didn’t State the types of non compliance to the electoral guidelines,yes I did not.
The third respondents Counsel,Emeka Etiaba sought to know from the witness whether his party,All Progressives Congress (APC) told him that they will be going to court, Respond. No
How did you then know that your party has gone to tribunal? It is no longer news because,it is everywhere and it has been reported on the news severally.
Counsel. After that,that you came here to file your statement.
Witness. No I went to High court West of Minds to file it after I have done that at my party.
Akaso Agidro David Hosea,from Rusua Village, testified as PW 23.
Responding from Examination questions from the respondents Counsel, the witness admitted that he didn’t sign the result at the polling unit but later signed it at the ward collation center.
When shown his statement and the petition,he was asked to read the name of the Agent that signed the result.
He said the name that signed the result as an APC Agent is Salisu Garba. When further asked whether he is Salisu Garba,he responded no I’m not the one.
Other witnesses that also testified before the tribunal are John Brown from Farin Gada Jos North LGA a student from University of Jos and Dalyop Christian Who equally testified as PW 20,told the court that he is from Anguldi,Jos South LGA.
After taking the four witnesses,the tribunal adjourned to Thursday,6th July,2023 for the continuation of trial.