Monday August 3rd, 2015
When the tribunal resumed sitting on Monday August 3rd, 2015, so much excitement filled the camp of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Benue state following the testimony of an establishment officer of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the Benue state office of the commission, Terkaa Andyar.
The INEC official was quoted to have made conflicting statements under cross examination by counsel to the APC, Benue state governor and INEC to the effect that the APC Benue state did not hold its governorship primaries.
It was established during the cross examination of the INEC official that whereas the the report of INEC was the APC governorship primaries talked of December 5th 2014, the body of the document purported to report the activities of events of December 10 and 11th, 2014, showing clearly the disparity in dates.
The document itself showed the APC primaries held on the 10 and 11th 2014, the subpoenaed INEC official clamined he was there “on the whole day of 10th” but could not give satisfactory answers while he failed to be present on the 11th of December 2014.
Prof Tony Ijohor, SAN and counsel to INEC expressed displeasure with the petitioners counsel, saying that as the counsel to INEC, he was not privy to the presence of the INEC official in the tribunal because he wasn’t served the subpoena notice.
And while Mr Andyar admitted that he monitored the APC gubernatorial primaries, the original copy of the document he presented was at variance with what had been frontloaded by the petitioner and which was sought to be tendered.
It was also revealed under cross examination that there was nothing on the face of Exhibit ‘8’, the report purported to be that of the APC gubernatorial primaries in Benue state to show that it came from INEC as there was neither an abbreviation, or acronym or the full name of INEC on the said document.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
There are strong indications that the PDP governorship candidate in the April 28th, 2015, Rt Hon Terhemen Tarzoor may not appear and face the legal fireworks from the legal team representing the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom at the Benue state governorship election tribunal holden in Makurdi.
Indications to this emerged yesterday when the lead counsel to Tarzoor, Adebayo Adelepokun, SAN abruptly said it had closed its case after Sebastian Hon, SAN and Olorundare, SAN took Dr Cletus Tyokyaa through a lengthy and tortious cross examination that lasted more than six hours.
After the cross examination of Tyokyaa, the next person expected to enter the witness box should have been the PW4 and in this case, Rt Hon Terhemen Tarzoor.
But shortly after Tyokyaa’s cross examination which lasted over six hours, Adebayo Adelepokun, SAN told the tribunal that the petitioners had closed it’s case.
Olorundare who stood in for Niyi Akintola, SAN as counsel to Dr Ortom likened the action by Tarzoor’s lawyers as a coup, prompting the tribunal members to volunteer to the respondent counsels’ that they could apply for a subpoena to enable all witnesses they had lined up to appear by 9am Wednesday.
Tyokyaa had pleaded and tendered a DVD which was played in the open for the tribunal members and counsel to both parties.
The DVD which was obtained via the YouTube is an interview from Channels Television a Lagos based private media outfit. The tape lasted not more than eight minutes.
Although counsel to 1st and 2nd Respondents as well as INEC canvassed against the admissibility of the DVD, the tribunal over ruled them and admitted same.
Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom was insinuated to have said in the celebrated DVD that the APC did not hold primaries but the governorship ticket was arrived at by a consensus arrangement.
The cross examination of Dr Tyokyaa however revealed that the witness, (Tyokyaa) was neither a member of the APC, a contestant nor party official nor even took part in both the APC or PDP as governorship candidate.
Even when Hon reminded Tyokyaa that this case and that which the PDP had filed at the Federal High Court Makurdi but was dismissed were similar because they sought similar reliefs, Tyokyaa tried fruitlessly to use semantics to distinguish the present case which Tarzoor has filed against Ortom at the governorship election tribunal.
It should be noted that the suit filed by the PDP at the Federal High Court, Makurdi which had challenged the emergence of Ortom as the flagbearer of the APC was dismissed, and therefore has laid the foundation of the principle of res judicata.
Still under cross examination by Hon, who led a team of lawyers for the APC, Tyokyaa who was political adviser to the immediate past governor of Benue state, Dr Gabriel Suswam was asked if he was brought in as part of the aggrieved aspirants of the APC, he replied in the negative, saying he had nothing to do with the APC nor its members.
But according to him, his interest in the matter was hinged on the fact that it was a public issue, and he being a stakeholder in the Benue polity, he developed interest.
Tyokyaa was visibly aggressive throughout his cross examination which at a certain point he declined to answer questions from Hon but the senior advocate insisted that he must answer his questions.
Tyokyaa who was offered to sit while the cross examination lasted declined, insisting that as a lecturer, he could stand for long hours.
That did not last long as the torrents of questioning from the combined efforts of the three senior advocates representing the APC, Governor Ortom and INEC became unbearable. He intermittently sat and stood up as the cross examination lasted.
The APC lead counsel had to at a point, remind the former political adviser that it was not a tea party when he would rather want to go into unnecessary arguments when the questions required a simple yes or no answer.
Hon also pointed to Tyokyaa in his celebrated DVD that no INEC official was interviewed and that there was no mention of the word ‘Benue’ throughout the duration of the tape.
Earlier on Tuesday August 4th, 2015, one Miss Erdoo from the National Library, Makurdi was cross examined by Sebatian Hon, SAN in respect of the two editions of The Sun newspapers of May 6th and 23, 2015 she had tendered the previous day, August 3rd.
She was subjected to read certain portions of the said Exhibit.
It was revealed in the course of the portions she read that Dr Samuel Ortom after being schemed out of the PDP primaries accepted the invitation from the APC leadership and considering that the party primaries were still opened as a result of a judicial process cum injunction issued in respect of the said primaries on 5th and that he could still participate, he took the option.
It was further revealed from the aforementioned newspapers tendered that the Benue state Governor did the needful and successfully emerged as the Flag bearer of the APC on December 11th, 2015.
Following the abrupt close of case by the petitioner without Tarzoor’s appearance, the APC is expected to open its defence tomorrow as the tribunal resumes sitting today.
Courtesy: Nath Ikyur