Osun Deputy Governor Hijacked Ballot Boxes - Witness

IT was another round of revelations galore before Justice Ali Garba-led Election Petition Retrial Tribunal on Wednesday in Osogbo, as one of the Action Congress (AC) witnesses told the tribunal how the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Erelu Olusola Obada and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker in the state House of Assembly, Honourable Joshua Ogunleye hijacked ballot boxes in Atakunmosa-West Local Government Council Area of the state.

The witness, Mr. Bamidele Olanrewaju, who acted as AC supervisor in Ibodi ward 4 of Atakunmosa-West Local Government Council Area had earlier identified the written reports of the polling agents in all the six polling units in the ward and same were tendered by the petitioners' counsel, Mr Deji Sasegbon (SAN).

Respondents' counsel objected to the admissibility of the reports but the tribunal overruled the objection and admitted the reports as exhibits 41(a-f).

The witness who was cross-examined by one of the Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola counsel, Dr. Wahab Egbewole, was asked whether the AC had polling agents in all the polling units and collation agent in the ward, a situation that gave the witness an opportunity to reveal how the election was disrupted by the deputy governor, the lawmaker and their suspected thugs.

Responding to the question, the witness narrated: "We have polling agents in all the units in our ward on the election day and we also have collation agent, but Erelu Olusola Obada, the deputy governor, Honourable Joshua Ogunleye, PDP House of Assembly member and his Personal Assistant came with thugs and disrupted the election.

"They came with their thugs who were armed with dangerous weapons like guns, cutlasses and others and they did not allow the collation of votes to take place. They chased voters away and disrupted the election and carted away ballot boxes in all the polling units in the ward".

Sensing that the witness was eager to reveal more of the atrocities committed by the deputy governor and the lawmaker on the said election day, Oyinlola's counsel quickly stopped the witness not to go further, saying "Witness, witness, that is okay".

Besides, another witness, Tunde Awoyale, AC supervisor in ward 4, Oke Ila-Orangun in Ifedayo Local Government Council Area of the state told the tribunal how Major Olufemi Omotara (retired), Chairman, Local Government Service Commission; Chief Femi Farounbi, Chairman, Osun State Broadcasting Commission (OSBC) Board and former chairman of the council area, Mrs Funmilayo Olaseinde who are all PDP leaders led thugs who hijacked ballot boxes.

The witness said that when he challenged the thugs led by the aforementioned PDP leaders, they descended on him and beat him mercilessly, a situation that gave them the free hand to stuff ballot boxes with illegally thumbprinted ballot papers in all the five polling units in the ward.

After the witness had identified the written reports of the polling agents in all the five polling units, the petitioners' counsel tendered the reports and they were admitted as exhibit 37 (a-j).