“My Lords, all the INEC documents, including result sheets from all the units of Rivers South-East Senatorial District indicating that Olaka Wogu of PDP won the senatorial seat of Rivers South-East in the Presidential/National Assembly election held on the 28th of March, 2015, were meticulously fabricated”, so said Mr Elijah Israel, a subpoenaed witness called by the third respondent (PDP) in the case between Magnus Abe and Olaka Wogu.
That shattering fact, which drew tears from the eyes of Olaka Wogu’s brother who was present in court, came when counsel to the petitioner, H.O Afolabi (SAN), was cross-examining the witness who said he was an indigene of Horo in Tai LGA of Rivers State. The witness claimed in his evidence-in-chief that he voted at his unit on the day of the election, and that the election was peaceful, free and fair.
But under cross-examination, Afolabi (SAN) asked the witness if accreditation and voting could take place without voters register in a unit, the witness answered in the negative. It was at that moment that counsel to the petitioner told the witness to have a look at exhibit B-series, a certified true copy of INEC form EC 25B. The form contained all the election materials which the Presiding Officer (PO) who purportedly conducted the election in unit 6 of Ward 5 in Tai LGA signed for. The election materials signed for did not include voters register or incident form. The implication is that if voters register and incident form were not supplied by INEC to the unit in question, nobody could claim to have voted, especially so when card reader was not used for electronic accreditation.
The petitioner’s counsel was not done with the hapless witness yet. The witness had earlier claimed that he was present when result of the election was announced, and that Olaka Wogu of PDP was announced winner of the election in his unit. The drama unfolded when the witness was shown the result sheet from his unit. Figures were merely allocated to PDP in the certified true copy of the result sheet with no signature of the Presiding Officer or those of the agent of APC or PDP. When confronted with that exhibit, the PDP witness told the tribunal that ” the INEC documents are METICULOUSLY FABRICATED” to the utter shock of the judges and jubilation supporters of Magnus Abe who were in the tribunal.
At that moment, Olaka Wogu’s brother who was in court started shedding tears openly and uncontrollably.
Showing that an election which he won took place on the 28th of March, 2015, in Rivers South-East Senatorial District has been an unpleasant experience in the tribunal for Olaka Wogu, INEC and PDP. To make matters worse, all the witnesses the respondents transported from Port Harcourt and put in hotels to testify before the tribunal have all ran away for fear of been arrested for perjury, pushing Olaka Wogu into a frantic search for witnesses. Olaka was not present in the tribunal today, he was reported to have ran to Port Harcourt to induce any kind of witness to appear in the tribunal and testify for him.
The challenges confronting Olaka Wogu in this tribunal are multi-faceted. It’s not just that witnesses lined up by him are running away and refusing to testify, the few who have taken the witness box have been totally disastrous. They have all been torn into shreds under fiery cross-examination.
But that is not all about his gargantuan challenges. Of all the documents used by INEC to conduct the election which the petitioner subpoenaed, not one has been brought to the tribunal. Instead, Gesila Khan, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State was only able to a letter with a police extract attached thereto through INEC lawyers, intimating the tribunal that ballot papers and other relevant documents used during the conduct of the election were stolen by unknown armed robbers.
80 percent of the result sheets in evidence before the tribunal are in a mess. They are not signed. A few bearing signatures of POs show that only one PO signed multiple result sheets from different polling units. There are results sheets that allocate more votes to Olaka Wogu than the number of registered voters in particular areas. In fact, it’s been tumultuous for Olaka Wogu, making the man to gallivant up and down looking for help that is not in sight.
But today’s drama in the tribunal by Israel Elijah summed up the frustrating experience of Olaka in the tribunal so far. That his own witness is the one telling the tribunal that INEC’s documents were “meticulously fabricated” leaves a soured taste in the mouth.
You will recall that the same witness yesterday was turned away from the witness box after been sworn-in when it he presented his birth certificate in place of his subpoena that brought him to the tribunal.
From all indications, in less than two weeks from today, Nigerians in general and people of Rivers South-East Senatorial District in particular will know the verdict from this tribunal, whilst not pre-empting the tribunal, if the shocking discoveries are anything to go by, it is safe to say that Olaka Wogu of PDP is in big trouble. That much he can tell!