Subpoenaed Witnesses Can Testify, Edo Tribunal rules
BENIN — EDO State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin has overruled the objections of counsel to the respondents, namely, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Godwin Obaseki and All Progressives Congress, APC, to stop a witness subpoeaned by the tribunal from testifying before it, saying, “Subpoenaed witnesses are competent witnesses, especially when the respondents are put on notice.”
Counsel to INEC, Obaseki and APC, Mr Onyeachi Ikpeazor, Mr Ken Mozia, SAN and Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, respectively, had opposed the request of the petitioners’ counsel, Mr Kehinde Eleja, SAN, on the tribunal clerk to administer oath on the witness, Mr. Oviosun Enas, who was subpoenaed by the tribunal, insisting that he did not make any written deposition before the tribunal.
In his ruling, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, said that the testimony of a subpoenaed witness does not amount to a change of the pleadings of the petitioner, adding that the petitioners had, during the pre-trial, stated that they could call on subpoenaed witnesses at any time.
The tribunal added that the petitioners were in order, to have invited subpeoned witnesses to testify in the petition before it on their behalf since they expressly gave the indication in their statement of claim, “more so, when it is also contained in the tribunal’s pre-trial order that subpenoed witnesses can be called to testify.”