#DeltaTribunal: Lack of Proper Certification of Election Results by INEC Threatens to Render Evidence Inadmissible
The Delta State election tribunal proceeded with a hearing on Friday, 28th August. The counsel to the petitioner (Emerhor/APC), Chief Okpoko (SAN), drew the attention of the tribunal to the failure of INEC to properly certify results from polling units in 24 LGAs. He noted that certification is to be done by an authorized scripted signature rather than an unscripted signature, and further stated that INEC, being an electoral body, should be an unbiased umpire instead of playing to the gallery.
This was in response to the attempts made by counsels to the first to fifth respondents – Okowa, PDP and INEC – to have the results, despite improper certification, admitted as evidence. Counsel to the petitioner further stated that certification is important as stated in the 2010 electoral act, and improper certification is reason enough to render the results being considered inadmissible as evidence.
He described the plea to have the improperly-certified results admitted as evidence as “a Trojan horse”, as doing so would serve no purpose. Chief JT Okpoko then pleaded with the tribunal to give room for proper certification, saying that “justice calls for patience and proper consideration”. He also berated the second respondent (counsel to the PDP) for his poor choice of words after the latter made uncharitable statements in court.
The tribunal overruled the respondents and granted the petitioner’s plea by providing time for proper certification before the next hearing. The hearing was then adjourned until Friday, 4th of September, 2015.
It should be noted that the stipulated period of time for the tribunal is 180 days; 118 days have since gone by and this brings the remaining time left to 62 days. Also, it had previously been proven that the total number of voters who were duly accredited by INEC on the day of the guber poll was 715,393, while Okowa/PDP supposedly polled 724,680 votes.
The logical conclusion for the tribunal would be to have a re-election; as we wait, so do the people of Delta State. Will the Judiciary align with the people, and if this is the verdict issued, will change have its day?