•Adrian Forty May Testify •Hope Rises, As MTN Authenticates Call-Logs, MMS, SMS
The thick cloud earlier gathered on the petition filed by the Osun State Action Congress (AC) torch-bearer
in the last year’s controversial governorship election, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola at the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, seems to be paving way for the blue sky, as the strength of evidence is appreciating every inch.
OSUN DEFENDER’s investigation has further shown that if the case at hand is given a speedy hearing, the chief tenant at Oke-fia Government House, Osogbo, Osun State may soon lose his sleep if the rejected evidence are considered in the process by the upper tribunal
Meanwhile, the compromise of the first election petitions tribunal headed by the embattled Justice Thomas Damar Naron has been exposed via the submission of the call-logs, text messages (SMS) and Multi-Media Service (MMS) by the MTN telecommunication company.
Some legal luminaries, who spoke to OSUN DEFENDER on the matter of established compromise of the tribunal said that if the elements of bias are clearly upheld by the appeal court judges, would be left with two options, to assume the jurisdiction of the lower tribunal to hear the case freshly, or to order for a retrial.
It would be recalled that TheNews magazine has dragged Oyinlola’s counsel, Mr Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) and the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr Lasisi Olagunju to Lagos State High Court over advertorials simultaneously placed in some newspapers by the duo with an intention to discredit the investigative story that exposed the secret telephone conversations between Kalejaiye and Naron.
Besides, the threat by the embattled SAN became empty, when it dawned on him that the documentary evidence of the calls, SMS and MMS was incontrovertible. He had earlier charged that he would drag the magazine’s management to court over the mind-boggling expose.
Through the order of court, MTN has made the call logs, MMS and SMS available to the court, a situation that made the documents public, and which Aregbesola legal team, has obtained and subsequently filed at the appeal court.
According to a lawyer, Razaq Abdullahi, who spoke to OSUN DEFENDER at the premises of Appeal Court in Ibadan last week, if the court establishes the compromise via the call logs submitted, then the case would be tried at fresh.
“If the court upholds that there was an element of bias in the trial by Naron-led tribunal, then it is assumed that the judgment was compromised and it will not stand”, said Abdullahi.
Checks on the previous rulings of some tribunals of the same category, revealed that some of the evidence rejected by the compromised Naron’s tribunal may be admitted by the special court, a development that may hang the fate of Oyinlola, in the case in balance.
Findings revealed that all the witnesses on ‘supoena duces tecum ad testificandum’ summoned by the tribunal, for tendering evidence and giving testimonies might be allowed at the second let of the trial, hopeful to further strengthen the documentary evidences of the Ijesa born political maestro.
It was learnt that reports of inspection of the sensitive materials at the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be another shell-shock, should the hornet-nest of the case be allowed to open.
It would be recalled that Naron tribunal earlier ruled at the preliminary stage of the case that Aregbesola should go ahead and inspect the ballot papers used in the controversial polls, only to reprobate later, when the telephone conversations had started between Oyinlola’s lawyer and two members of the tribunal.
OSUN DEFENDER learnt that if the report is admitted, can of worms would be opened, as votes of different kinds, ballot boxes of other states, stamps of previous election would be revealed at the court and that, according to a legal luminary would eat deep into the INEC’s controversial figures quoted to return the governor in April 2007 election.
While evidence of the ward-supervisors earlier dismissed by the compromised Naron tribunal may be upheld as it was done at the second tribunal that sat in Osogbo, led by Justice Hamman Barka in the petition filed by Honourable Mudasir Hussein against the election of Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke
It was reported one authority that there was nothing wrong in calling the ward supervisors or polling agents to testify at the tribunal, contrary to the dummy sold by the Oyinlola’s legal team, which was upheld by the compromised Naron tribunal.
Besides, the chief evidence, the forensic analysis of the sensitive materials carried out by Adrian Forty, which had already exposed how palm kernel, monkey thumb, and other illegal objects were used as thumb-prints on the ballot papers coupled with multiple voting may be admitted and that would provide the nail for the coffin of Oyinlola’s case.
OSUN DEFENDER learnt that efforts were on at Oyinlola’s camp to renew on-slaught against the opposition at home, in order to distract their attention from the magnitude of the case at the appeal court.