Witnesses of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and her candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu in the September 28 governorship election on Monday told the Election petition Tribunal sitting in Benin City that the conflicting report and discrepancies noticed in their deposition statements as against the result sheets they deposed to were due to “human error”.
The witnesses being cross-examined were Engineer Festus Owu and Chief Kashimawo Austin Ajakaiye, who claimed to be a businessperson. They both claimed to have painstakingly perused the election result sheets before documenting their witness statements, which they swore on oath to be the truth and nothing short of it.
During cross-examination, Owu testified that although he was not posted to all the units, he visited all the units. He also added that it was based on figures, which he listed in his deposition that he concluded that there were cases of multiple voting and over-voting during the election.
When he was informed that he did not indicate in his written deposition that he visited any units, and that even the results he wrote in his deposition did not tally with what was in the election result sheet, he blamed ‘human frailty’ for the discrepancies.
He also added that he could not write everything that happened during the election in his statement. He said if the figures he allocated to the various parties in his witness statement was wrong, it does not invalidates the conclusion of his claims.
In unit 1 of his written deposition, Owu allocated 51 votes to PDP but the result sheet indicated that PDP scored 50 votes. In unit 9, Owu allocated PDP 177 votes, but the result sheet for that unit read 117 votes.
Owu then said, “I am subject to human frailty” when he was shown the discrepancies and errors in his witness statement as against the units result sheets.
Similarly, another witness testifying for the petitioners, Chief Kashimawo Austin Ajakaiye, from Owan East also had it put to him that his written deposition as well as that of Engineer Owu were duplicative and contained similar errors for which he blamed “human error”.
In his witness statement, he said 352 people voted in unit 16, but when shown exhibit PO 97 (16) – unit 16 result, he said 517 people was recorded to have voted. When asked the reasons for the discrepancies in his witness statement and the unit results, he stated, “It could be human error”.
When confronted with exhibit PO 97 (17), the result sheet for unit 17, he said 234 persons voted but in his deposition, he stated 239. Also, for accredited voters, he stated in his written statement on deposition that 247 persons were accredited but exhibit PO 97 (1) proved to the contrary – it bore 435.
So also, in unit 12, the witness had stated in his witness statement on oath that the total number of accredited voters was 274 whereas, in the result sheet it bore 391, thereby rendering his deposition at complete variance with the documents he adopted to pursue his case – voters register, result sheets among others.