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NBA President, tribunal member in war of words

Posted by THE GUARDIAN on 2003/10/27 | Views: 322 |

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NBA President, tribunal member in war of words

IT was a war of words at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State at the weekend between the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), and a member of the tribunal, Justice I.I. Agube.

Trouble started when Olanipekun, who is the leading counsel to Senator Emma Obiajulu Anoskie in a suit brought against him by Mrs. Joy Emordi, was abruptly stopped from continuing his presentation.

Piqued by the order of the judge, the NBA President said that Agube was no longer fit to sit on the Tribunal as one of the presiding judges.

But still undone, Agube became more daring, accusing Olanipekun thus "that's how you went to discuss me at your Bar Conference in Enugu".

In response Olanipekun stood up to submit," My lord, this judge is not worthy to sit in this place to handle matters."

The judge continued: "If you want evidence, I'll give you my evidence".

At the peak of the disagreement, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice G.M. Nabaruma, ordered the tribunal to rise briefly.

Earlier, Dr. Ralpha N. Agwuna a lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who worked as the Independent Electoral Commission's (INEC) Returning Officer in the last April National Assembly polls for the Anambra North Senatorial zone comprising Oyi, Ogbara, Onitsha North, South Ayamelum, Anambra East and West Councils, said he never returned Emordi but Anosike.

Agwuna emphasised that the copy of EC8E result sheet marked exhibit 'A' tendered by Emordi did not come from him as he never handed over any such documents to her, her agent or proxy.

He claimed that the closest he ever came to her was in the court, for the first time.

He said also that the result sheets for the election were filled in ten copies with the first one going to the candidate, others to Police, SSS, etc, while those remaining are in INEC's custody.

He added that no one else was permitted or authorised to write or alter anything to whatsoever that has been written on the result sheet other than the Returning Officer. He also insisted that the words "Chief Mrs. in the document exhibit 'A' tendered by Emordi were not written in his writing.

When Olanipekun asked him whether the document had been manipulated, he said: "Yes my Lord".

During cross-examination by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), counsel to Emordi, Agwuna admitted that despite some observed alterations and superimposition of words on the document (EC8E form), that he wrote some of the columns in the document. That was when he explained that there were ten copies of the results and that perhaps' Exhibit 'A' might be one of the copies which he said were called counterpart originals.

When Ikpeazu said, "you returned Chief Mrs. Joy Emordi", the witness said: "No, rather I returned Senator Emma Anosike."

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