Many at the venue of the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Benin City could not hide their surprise and astonishment yesterday.
This was because the figures arrived at after the recount ordered by the tribunal in 12 of the 18 local governments in the state were much lower than the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the councils in respect of the last April 14 governorship election in the state.
INEC had returned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, Senator Oserheimen Osunbor, as the winner of the election but dissatisfied with the results, the Action Congress (AC) candidate, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, challenged Osun-bor’s victory at the tribunal.
The AC candidate had asked the tribunal to order a recount following the inability of INEC to give the accurate results of the poll.
In its preliminary ruling on the petition, the tribunal ordered a recount of the ballots in the 12 local governments.
The outcome of the recount was announced to a stunned audience yesterday at the tribunal by a top official of INEC, Mr. Kayode Olawale.
According to Olawale, used, unused and invalid ballots were all counted during the recount.
The figures reeled out were not only at variance with what INEC had declared but also showed that whereas the results were jerked up in areas considered as Osunbor strongholds, they were lowered in places considered to be Oshiomhole’s base.
The surprise began when Olawale mounted the witness box to continue his evidence-in-chief under cross-examination by counsel to the AC candidate, Chief Adeniyi Akintola.
Olawale, who is the Head of Administration of the state INEC, read out the outcome of the recount and the results declared by INEC local government by local government which showed conflicting figures.
Olawale said he was reading from the results emanating from the recounting done in the 12 government as against the results declared by INEC.