The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday closed its defence before the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal without calling any witness.
During the hearing, the commission through its counsel, Adesina Agbede, applied to close its case. The tribunal also adjourned till January 30 to enable the Governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, to open his defence.
The tribunal is hearing the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in which he challenged the declaration by INEC that Oyetaola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, won the election.
Both the PDP and Adeleke are alleging among other things, that the election results were manipulated to favour the APC and its candidate.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, announced on Thursday after INEC closed its case that the tribunal would adjourn and return on January 30 when the second respondent would open his case.
Oyetola is listed as the second respondent in the petition.
INEC, which opened its case last Friday and closed on Thursday without calling any witness, relied only on documents.
The documentary evidence included result sheets as announced by its officials.
Speaking on the implication of INEC decision, the lead counsel for the petitioner, Dr Paul Ananaba (SAN), said INEC had literally endorsed and conceded to the PDP petition seeking declaration of Adeleke as the winner of the election.
He said, “By closing its case without any defence, INEC is saying it cannot challenge the petitoner’s case. INEC has accepted that we are right in our prayers that the rightful winner of the election is PDP’S Ademola Adeleke.”