Drama in Ogun Tribunal as witness, Adebutu's counsel engage in shouting match over alleged N10million loan - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT

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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Drama in Ogun Tribunal as witness, Adebutu's counsel engage in shouting match over alleged N10million loan


Gov Dapo Abiodun.            Hon Adebutu 

There was a mild drama at the Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal as counsel to the petitioners, Gordy Uche and a witness, Solomon Abiodun Sanyaolu engaged in a shouting match.

Sanyaolu who was the Director General of Dapo Abiodun governorship campaign committee appeared before the court on Tuesday to give evidence in support of Abiodun's case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu in the petition marked, EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023 are challenging the victory of Abiodun over alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act and corrupt practices during the election.

The petitioners alleged that elections were disrupted by thugs in over 99 polling units, disenfranchising over 40,000 voters from participating in the March 18 election.

Sanyaolu while being crossed examined by Uche at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, engaged in a shouting match when he was confronted with a letter accusing him of borrowing N10million from the petitioner (Adebutu).

The witness confirmed to the Tribunal that he was a former member of the PDP and close associate of Adebutu before the March 18 election.

"You were a close associate of the petitioner (Adebutu)? I put it to you that your evidence is borne out of personal vendetta because the petitioner requested that you pay him the sum of N10million which you borrowed from him and have refused to pay back.

"Here is a letter written by the lawyer to the petitioner requesting you to pay him back the N10million loan which you took from him", Uche said while showing a letter to the witness.

The witness while replying shouted back at Uche, saying, "I did not borrow N10million from the petitioner, I only took a N5million loan from him."

"Have you paid the loan back? Do you have evidence here in court proving that you have paid back the loan? Your evidence is just to tarnish the image of the petitioner because he asked you for a refund of a loan you took from him", Uche shouted back at the witness.

"I have paid back. I can provide the proof that I have paid back. I only took N5million from him and that was three years ago. Give me 10 minutes, I can provide a proof that I have paid back", the witness replied.

Meanwhile, Abiodun on Tuesday closed his defence at the Tribunal after calling six witnesses and tendering several documents as to prove his case before the Tribunal.

Some of the documents tendered by Abiodun included: his West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate, the report of the production of 200,000 units of top-up ATM cards, a letter of authority from the petitioner to open a Zenith bank account from which the top-up cards were preloaded with N10,000 each and a paper showing the sample of the preloaded cards. 

At the resume hearing on Tuesday, counsel to Abiodun, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) sought the permission of the Tribunal to tender the documents through the bar.

He listed the documents to include: report of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Police investigation report in response of case of bribery, conspiracy undue influence of thugs, dated 12 May, 2023 and updated Police investigation report on a case of bribery, conspiracy, undue influence, dated 7 June, 2023.

Speaking to journalists after, one of the counsels to Abiodun, Prof Taiwo Osipitan said, "Like I keep on saying, there is no cause for alarm you can see us showing what we have in terms of vote buying, in terms of everything we can put into it to show that the petition is dead on arrival".

On his part, Uche said, "Today, the second respondent has finally closed his case, we thought they will have more witnesses but so far so good we are happy with what has been happening at the Tribunal and we look forward to the case of the third respondent which is APC and then we will pick it up from there.

"We look forward to whether they will bring witnesses that will confront with these issues and the things that they have said."

Meanwhile, APC is expected to open its defence on Wednesday, being the third respondent in the petition.

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