By Oluwatope Lawanson
Ikeja – Mrs Rita Orji, the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) candidate in Ajeromi-Ifelodun for the House of Representatives in the 2019 general elections, will on Friday, Aug. 23, testify before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lagos.
Orji, who is challenging the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Kolawole Taiwo in the election, prayed the court to declare her the winner.
Addressing journalists on Thursday shortly after nine of her witnesses gave evidence before the tribunal, the PDP candidate said that her testimony on Friday would close the petitioner’s case before The tribunal.
Orji, who expressed confidence in the tribunal to return her mandate to her, said that the truth had started coming out that she was robbed.
“No matter what man does, justice is from heaven and God uses people to deliver justice. INEC has constituted itself to cancel election results.
“I have perfect trust in the judiciary, you know I am one of them.
“It will be very difficult for an individual to agree that in an election done simultaneously on same day for President, Senate, and House of Representation, only results for the House of Representatives were canceled for no reason,” she said.
According to her, there are questions which need answers why the violence that occasioned the purported cancellation did not affect the results of the Presidential candidate and the senatorial candidate.
She urged her supporters to be calm and patient.
Also, Mr Tobechukwu Nweke, counsel to the petitioner, said that it was unlawful for INEC to cancel results of 71 polling units in the Ajeromi-Ifelodun House of Representatives Election.
Nweke prayed the tribunal to set aside the cancellation that occasion the Supplementary Election of April 27 by which the APC candidate, Mr Kolawole Taiwo, was declared the winner.
“We have called a number of witnesses just to establish that the election of Feb. 23 was unlawfully canceled by INEC.
“The tribunal should collate the results, add it to the scores of our client and declare her the winner of the election.
“What we have done today was to call some polling agents; we are done with the polling agents, now we are calling the ward agents, who were at the polling centres when these results were canceled.
“Tomorrow we will close our case, we will call the other outstanding witnesses, then we will call the petitioner herself and then we will close our case,” Nweke said.
He said that petitioner had called about 40 witnesses so far.
“Out of the 52 witnesses, we have called about 40. Tomorrow, we will call other ones that we think we need to call and then call the petitioner and we close our case.
He expressed confidence that his client would win the case.
According to him, if INEC fails to substantiate allegations of over-voting and violence in the election, his client will be declared the winner.
“We have been able to show that there was no over voting and violence and INEC is not a court or a tribunal to cancel election results.
“What INEC did was to constitute itself into an election tribunal and start cancelling results and that is unacceptable,” he said.
However, counsel to INEC, Mr Tijani Ishola, said that the commission did not favour any candidate as being alleged.
He said that the candidate of APC even won in 59 out of the 71 polling units where the results were cancelled.
Ishola said that the election results were cancelled by INEC because of established violence, over-voting and other reasons.
According to him, the commission ensured adequate security during the rerun election to prevent violence and gave all candidates a level playing ground.
“I believe strongly that this petition will not see the light of the day,” the counsel said.