The Delta State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has rejected the documents sought to be tendered as exhibits by a witness from the Independent National Electoral Commission in defence of the declaration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the winner of the April 11 governorship poll in Delta State.
The tribunal, sitting in Asaba, had subpoenaed a staff member of INEC in Delta State, Mrs. Mercy Ehikhametalo, at Okowa’s request, to back his ongoing defence of his victory before the tribunal.
Okowa’s victory is being challenged at the tribunal by the state’s governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the April poll, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, and the APC.
At the resumed hearing of the defendant’s defence on Tuesday, Okowa’s counsel, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), leading Ehikhametalo, had sought to tender four documents through her as exhibits.
The documents are Certified True Copy of Card Reader uploaded statue as of Thursday, April 16, 2015; CTC of unit accreditation report yet to be uploaded for the governorship election as of April 16, 2015; the notification of the APC governorship primary for December 2, 2014 and the INEC report of the state’s APC congress of December 4, 2015.
Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), appearing for the petitioners, objected to the admissibility of two of the documents, arguing that aside that they were computer generated, there was no evidence before the panel to show that the documents were produced by the witness.
Okpoko submitted that the documents did not meet the mandatory requirements of section 84 subsection 2 of the Evidence Act and could not be admitted, urging the Justice Nasiru Gunmi-led tribunal to reject them.
Iziyon told the tribunal that the panel should rely on its ruling on September 7, 2015, and allow the documents to be admitted since they were relevant to the case.
The three-man tribunal, however, disagreed with Iziyon, ruling that the case was not the same as the September 7 ruling on the admissibility of documents.
Justice Gunmi said, “We have no doubt in our minds that what she seeks to tender were documents uploaded from the Card Reader severs, but there is no indication anywhere showing that the documents the witness seeks to tender were data generated by computer and she now used computer to type it.
“In view of our analysis above, we believe that our ruling of September 7, 2015, is not similar to this. We believe that the objections of Okpoko (SAN) to the admissibility of these documents are germane. We believe that the two documents sought to be tendered are computer-generated documents.
“There is nothing on the face of the documents to show that they complied with section 84 of the Evidence Act.
“In view of this, we hereby agree that the documents are not admissible and it is hereby rejected.”