In a dramatic twist, the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in the April 14, governorship election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru has cried out in court that his star witness has suddenly turned hostile.
The Delta State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the state capital had subpoenaed the INEC Head of Department; General Administration and Procurement, in Asaba head office, Mr. Felix Enabor, to give evidence in the petition filed by Ogboru and LP, over the conduct of the governorship election in the state.
Soon after Enabor mounted the witness box and his written statement and other documents admitted by the tribunal as exhibit, rather than commence with the examination of the witness , Ogboru’s lawyer, Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, raised the alarm by way of a motion urging the tribunal to label Enabor as a hostile witness.
He contended that some paragraphs in the witness deposition were “animus” , and injurious to the petitioners.
But in a swift reaction, the lawyers to Governor Okowa, PDP and INEC , Dr. Alex Izyion (SAN), Mr. Timothy Kehinde (SAN) and Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) respectively vehemently opposed the motion.
Izyon described the move as “very basal and unknown to law”, arguing that section 230 of the Evidence Act, has not been complied with.
He pointed out the request to label the witness as hostile and animus is not automatic as it cannot be invoked.
He said, “The petitioner is the one providing the witness upon an application , it is his witness, where the procedure is by deposition , particularly if the witness is adverse to his cases particularly to election petition, they have taken a gamble, they ether swim or sink with the witness they have called”.
He said the petitioners are the ones that called the witness, and he obeyed the subpoena, adding that there was no evidence of hostility with the witness as there was nothing to show such, as he has the mandate of the petitioner to come and testify.
He further explained that the issues of the LP Chairman facing criminal prosecution over stolen
INEC materials should not a hidden thing, adding that the issue of hostile witness was not new to jurisprudence, as there are no enough grounds to treat witness from INEC as hostile.