Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), NigeriaIf the Justice Thomas Naron-led Election Petitions Tribunal had allowed Mr. Adrian Forty to give evidence before it, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would need to explain how a total of 516,867 illegal votes were counted for the April 14 gubernatorial poll in Osun State.

The forensic expert had, through his analysis of the scanning ordered by the tribunal, discovered that 113,311 ballot papers that were not supposed to be used for the conduct of the governorship election in Osun State found their ways into the votes that it used to declare Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as winner of the April 14, 2007 poll.The admittance of forensic evidence by Election Petitions Tribunal in Ondo and Ekiti states has thrown up issues that questioned the credibility of the Justice Thomas Naron-led panel in Osun State.

Another nagging question which the tribunal, by its un-edifying February 18, 2008 ruling, has temporarily shielded INEC from answering is the stuffing of 175,439 ballot papers into ballot boxes on the governorship election day across the disputed local governments.

Equally disturbing was the discovery by Adrian Forty of 88, 098 votes from split ballot papers which meant that they were used in polling units where INEC did not assign them for the conduct of the gubernatorial poll.

Mr. Adrian Forty also discovered that 93,088 multiple votes were illegally recognized and counted by INEC to declare Governor Oyinlola as the winner of the election last year.

Apart from the above criminal statistics, a total of 46,937 ballot papers had no thumbprint impressions on them but were counted for the PDP candidate by INEC in utter disregard for the Electoral Law, 2006.

If these votes being contested by the governorship candidate of the Osun State Action Congress (AC), Engineer Rauf Aregbesola before the tribunal were put to test and disqualified as illegal and unlawful, Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola would have lost his deposit as a candidate in the last general election.

The implication of this was that a total of 516,867 votes counted for Oyinlola were illegal, unlawful and contravening the provisions of the existing laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The shame attached to the imperative nullification of these votes would have been severe and unprecedented in the annals of Nigeria’s legal history.

Aregbesola had used the forensic and biometric technology to unravel the mystery surrounding the declaration of Oyinlola as winner when it was glaring that the PDP governor and government had lost the favour of the electorate.

The refusal of the tribunal to accept Adrian Forty into the witness box appeared like a desperate bid to shield electoral criminals and bandits from facing justice.

The election petitions tribunals in Ondo and Ekiti states have since accepted the same Adrian Forty to give evidence before them and throw light into the darkness of evil votes used by INEC to arrive at the controversial results of the last poll.