By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Saturday “reluctantly” adjourned its sitting till Tuesday following the absence of the last witness to be called by the petitioner, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, the Governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
Hearing on the petition was due for closure by the petitioner on Saturday. The 14 days allotted to the petitioner to present and close his case elapsed on Saturday.
At the resumed hearing on Saturday, Akinlade’s Lead Counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) told Justice Yusuf Halilu – led panel that the last witness was absent and pleaded with the Tribunal to adjourn the sitting till Tuesday to enable the witness appear before the Tribunal.
The witness, who is an official of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ogun State office, was subpoenaed to give evidence before the Tribunal.
“My Lord, I have a challenge” Raji began on Saturday shortly after the members of the panel had taken counsel’s appearances. “The last witness is on subpoena and since last night we could not get him.”
He continued “We plead that we should be accommodated on Tuesday. He is a civil servant. He is not a witness that is under my control. If he comes, we just need him to verify their (INEC’s) documents, and in five minutes, I will be through with him. I am extremely sorry, My Lord.”
Respondents’ Counsel, O A Obilade, Deji Enisenyin and Habeeb Ajayi in their various submissions, did not oppose the petitioner’s lead counsel’s application.
Apparently worried by the application, Justice Halilu said “we will adjourn reluctantly.”
Again, Raji begged “My Lord, I do not want to burn my goodwill on frivolous issues like this. I did not know he would not be around today (Saturday). I am extremely sorry.”
The Tribunal, however, adjourned the matter till Tuesday, July 9, for definite continuation of hearing.