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Election Tribunal:David Mark refuses to testify
David Mark refuses to personally defence himself at the Tribunal

Election Tribunal:David Mark refuses to testify

 

Former Senate President David Mark failed to give evidence in his own defence in a petition challenging his declaration as winner of the Benue South Senatorial election.

Senator Mark’s counsel, Kenneth Ikonne, had at an earlier sitting on August 13, 2015, asked the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal presided over by Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu to adjourn to today, to enable him bring his client to the witness box.In deed, Mark was listed as a witness.

However, despite the presence of Mark at the tribunal earlier today, Mr. Ikonne announced that he would no longer call his client to the witness box. He did not give any reason for the change of plans but it may have been to spare the former Senate President any harassment from the counsel to the petitioner, Daniel Onjeh, APC candidate in the election.

Mr. Ikonne instead tendered documents as evidence before the tribunal. These included a certified copy of press statement by INEC affirming that guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 general elections were relaxed; and relevant pages of the March 29, 2015 editions of Sunday Mirror and ThisDay newspapers.

The tribunal duly admitted the documents as evidence, even as Mr. Ikonne asked Justice Dipeolu to evoke paragraph 41(6) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act , as well as paragraph 20 Rule 2(d) of the Federal High Court ruling, 2009 in the evidence before her.

Chris Alechenu, counsel to the Senator Mark’s party, the PDP, asked for a short adjournment to enable him prepare for his defence.

Onjeh’s counsel, Tunji Oso, later told the press that Mark’s failure to testify even though his name was on the list of witnesses, amounted to an abandonment of his own defence.

However, Mr. Ikonne, who had earlier called 10 witnesses in defence of the former Senate President, said he refrained from calling Mark to the witness box so as not to waste the tribunal’s time.

He further insisted that Senator Mark had no case to answer. Justice Dipeolu adjourned the hearing till today, August 19, 2015

 

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