A Deputy Director with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sylvester Aigbogun, on Tuesday told the Ekiti Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in the FCT High Court, Apo that the July 14 governorship election in the state was free and fair.
Aigbogun, who was the Electoral Officer for Ikole Local Government Area of the state during the election, stated this while testifying for the electoral body in the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the election, Prof. Olusola Kolapo.
The petitioners dragged INEC, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Gov. Kayode Fayemi, the winner of the election in contention, as respondents before the tribunal.
The petitioners are challenging the declaration of Fayemi as the winner of the election by the first respondents, INEC.
Aigbogun, while being cross examined by Yomi Aliyu SAN, counsel for APC, stated that his assertion that the election was free and fair was based on what he saw while visiting some polling units in the local government during the election as well as what was presented to him from various units and wards.
“The election was free and fair. This was based on what I saw and what was presented to me. “PDP and its candidate, Professir Kolapo did not make any complaint to me on the conduct of the election in my local government.”
While answering question from R O Balogun SAN, counsel for Fayemi, the witness stated that APC won in Ikole LGA without any hitches with a total of 14,522 votes as against PDP’s 13,961. He asserted that the election was conducted substantially in line with the Electoral Act and the manual for the election issued by INEC earlier tendered and admitted as Exhibit RA9.
The witness stated that he did not see any presiding officer or other persons deliberately voiding ballot papers during his visit to some polling units in the course of the election. Aigbogun, told the tribunal, under cross examination by the counsel for the petitioners, Adebayo Adelodun SAN, that entries on Form EC8A had to tally with those on the pink copy issued to agents of parties at polling units.
According to him, wherever an alteration in the entries was not initialed by either the presiding officers or collation officers, there was no way he could know that such was an honest mistake.