Nigeria News

Anambra Tribunal Admits two INEC Electronic Voter Registers, as Obiano’s Double Registration Re-surfaces

Hearing continued yesterday at the Governorship  Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka, Anambra State, with the Hon Justice Ishaq Bello chaired panel ruling to admit two versions of  electronic register of voters  issued by Independent Electoral Commission (INEC ) to All Progressives Congress (APC) on October 16, 2013, and November 13, 2013, respectively.
 
The tribunal also admitted a letter to APC by the INEC on October 14, 2013.
The two electronic voters’ registers were contained in two different hard discs marked Exhibit P. 386.1-2, while the letter was marked ‘Exhibit P.385’.
 
The admission followed protracted legal battle between the petitioners’ counsel led by Emeka Ngige (SAN) and counsel to INEC, Willie Obiano and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to stop the documents from being admitted.
 
Raising an objection that the process of bringing what he called ‘the two objects before the court ‘was flawed, Gbenga Awomolo (SAN), counsel to INEC and, the INEC Electoral Resident Commissioner (ERC) in the state, Prof Chukwuemeka Onukogu, relied on Section 84 of the Evidence Act to insist that the witness, Chibuzo Obiakor (PW11), who is state collation agent for APC in the elections, did not provide foundation evidence.
 
Awomolo argued that there ought to be evidence that the said evidence was processed from a computer hard drive which had been in regular use and ought to be certified.
He was supported by counsel to Obiano, Onyebuchi Ikpeazu and counsel to APGA, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN).
 
Ngige however submitted that the objections of the defence lawyers were a misconception of the evidence sought to be tendered and the Evidence Act.
 
He argued that the only material thing  to consider was whether the documents were pleaded, listed, relevant and whether they are admissible in law, citing various legal authorities to back his argument.
 
The tribunal rose for about 20 minutes and thereafter ruled to admit the documents, insisting that since the materials submitted were from hard drive, any possible objection can only arise from opening the materials which is not yet done.
 
According to the tribunal, any other thing beyond that would amount to prematurely delving into the weight of the evidence.
 
It however rejected in evidence a Certified True Copy of Obiano’s voter’s card tendered through the same witness, because according to the witness, any issue relating to the paragraphs that had been struck out by the tribunal had been stopped by the previous ruling.
 
In another development, a witness, Mrs. Chidiebere Moghalu, testified that she and other voters who registered at booth 018, Ward 5, Umuoruka, Awka in Awka South Local Government Area were denied the right to vote at the election as their names were not found in the register.
 
Under cross examination by Awomolo, Moghalu said she voted in the  April 2011 general election and saw her name in the register when INEC displayed it in August last year but was shocked not to find her name in the register when she came to cast her vote recently.
She also admitted knowing one Ifeanyi Moghalu whose name appeared in the register, saying she did not know if the said Ifeanyi Moghalu voted in the November 16, 2013, governoship election.

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