By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—FOR the second time in four days, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has failed to open its defence at the resumed hearing by the Edo State Governorship Elections Tribunal sitting in Benin, when, yesterday, it applied for more time to contact and interact with its witnesses.
INEC’s counsel, Mr Onyinye Anumonye, who made an oral application to the tribunal for an adjournment to Friday this week, cited logistics reasons for his application, saying that most of the witnesses were civil servants and youth corps members who could not be reached before yesterday’s sitting.
“Most of the times INEC staff are not stationed in Edo State, but are members of the National Youth Service Corps scheme who have passed out and relocated from Edo State. From text messages sent to them, they were unable to make it,” he said.
He said that apart from the former NYSC members, the many civil savants who were also involved in the election were listed as its witnesses but could not be pulled out of their duty posts even at short notice.
Counsel to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, opposed the commission’s application for adjournment on the basis of logistics, saying that it can only succeed if it gives cogent and credible reasons to the tribunal.
With the counsel to both Mr Godwin Obaseki and All Progressives Congress, APC, not opposed to INEC’s application, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, in his ruling as Chairman of the three- member tribunal, granted the application and adjourned sitting till February 17, 2017.