A petitioners’ witness on Tuesday told the Ekiti Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that votes for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were ‘deliberately’ voided by staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the July 14 Ekiti governorship election.
The witness, Omobuljo Bankole, said PDP votes were voided in Unit 009, Ward 4 of Ido-Osi Local Government Area.
Mr Bankole stated this while testifying before the tribunal, headed by Suleiman Belgore, sitting at the FCT High Court, Apo.
The petitioners, the PDP, and its candidate in the Ekiti July 14 governorship election, Olusola Kolapo, had approached the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election.
The respondents in the suit are INEC, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Answering a question during cross-examination by Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), counsel to APC, Mr Bankole, stated that his party scored more than 119 votes during the election in his unit.
According to the witness, “I was there when they deliberately voided the PDP’s voters in Unit 9 (Ward 4, Ido -Osi LGA); the male polling clerk of INEC voided 27 votes,” he said.
Meanwhile, the petitioners called five witnesses on Tuesday bringing the total number of witnesses called so far to 69.
The witnesses informed the tribunal in their written statements on oath, which they adopted as their testimony before the tribunal, of deliberate voiding of votes by INEC officers and over voting in their respective polling units where they served as PDP agents.
During a cross examination by INEC counsel, a witness, Yisa Ibrahim (PW66), from Ado Ekiti LGA, informed the tribunal that he was at his unit throughout the election, adding that PDP polled 362 votes, while APC scored 192.
He stated that counting was done based on thumb printing, and defined voided votes as votes that cannot be counted for any party.
He also said that only INEC has the power to declare a vote voided, but insisted that INEC staff voided votes that were for PDP during the election.