Osun State Election Petition Tribunal has issued a fresh order directing the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the certificates and other documents of the state governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke used in the 2018 governorship election.
The order followed the failure of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Commission to produce the certificates in the previous sitting in compliance with a subpoena issued on the Commission.
Outgoing governor Adegboyega Oyetola is challenging the declaration of Adeleke as governor-elect by the INEC.
At its resumed sitting today (Friday), the Tribunal, Chaired by Justice Tertsea Kume ruled that the mere appearance of the representative of REC has not answered the subpoena on the Commission to produce the documents.
In the ruling, the Tribunal said an application for subpoena is in Administrative Act and when it is granted, it becomes Judicial Act and the party upon which the subpoena is issued must comply, citing Sections 218 and 219 of the Evidence Act.
It ruled: “An order of the court is bound to be complied with by the party upon which it was made until it is set aside by the court. In the instant case, the order has not been complied with.”
The Tribunal further held that the request by the respondents that the petitioners should continue with the calling of the witness whose testimony hung on Adeleke’s credentials was baseless, as the petitioners have the absolute prerogative on how to conduct their case.
The panel said the application was consequent to the failures of the state REC of the Commission to produce the documents requested in the subpoena.
According to the ruling, the petitioners’ have shown sufficient reasons for the Tribunal to compel the National Chairman of INEC to produce the documents in question.
It then dismissed all the objections raised by the counsel for INEC, Adeleke and PDP and compelled the National Chairman of the Commission to produce the documents in the next sitting of the panel on Thursday, 1st December.
Counsel for the petitioners, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) described the ruling as well-researched, saying it would go a long way in serving the course of justice in the hearing of the petition.
Addressing journalists shortly after the proceedings, Chief Olujinmi said the court has done the right thing by reordering INEC to produce the requested documents containing Adeleke’s certificates.
He added: “The respondents, as we said during the last sitting, didn’t want to produce that document and that was why we had to argue at length to persuade the Tribunal to reorder, which they eventually made today.
“The effect of this is that the INEC is now under a binding obligation to produce these documents at the next appearance in court on Thursday 1st December 2022,” he added.
Counsel for INEC, Professor Paul Ananaba (SAN) also conceded that they were ready now to follow the order of the court by producing the requested documents.