The Legislative Election Petitions Tribunal in Ekiti State on Saturday prevented counsel to the All Progressives Congress, APC, from leading one Aderemi Akinlade in evidence, at the sitting of the tribunal in Ado-Ekiti.
The Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice A. Erahor, turned down the request at the resumed hearing of a petition challenging the election of Fatimah Raji-Rasaki (PDP- Ekiti Central)
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Akinlade was subpoenaed at the request of APC and its candidate, Gbenga Olofin, in the Ekiti Central Senatorial District election.
Mr. Erahor in a ruling held that the witness was issued with “subpoena duces-tecum” in which a witness summon is required to tender only documents and therefore, he cannot be put on oath in the witness box to give evidence.
At the pre-hearing stage of the petition, counsel to the petitioners, Yemi George, had caused the tribunal to issue the summon on the witness.
At the resumed hearing on Saturday, Mr. George, however, told the tribunal that he wanted to put the witness on oath and lead him in evidence.
Jude Ogodi, counsel to Mrs. Raji-Rasaki opposed the position of the petitioner’s lawyer on the ground that “subpoena duces-tecum” could not suffice for a witness to be led in evidence. He argued that the witness could only give evidence if he had been issued with “subpoena ad-testificandum’’, a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding.
Akintade Aluko, Counsel to INEC and Ekiti Resident Electoral Commissioner, supported the argument of Mr. Ogodi and urged the tribunal to strike out the subpoena.
The tribunal adjourned to June 29 for further hearing in the petition.