There was drama on Wednesday at the Delta State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal when a witness presumed to be dead showed up in court.
Christopher Anirah was subpoenaed by the tribunal to give evidence an election petition matter between Hon. Gibson Ighofose Akporehe of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Hon. Evelyn Omavowan Oboro of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Counsel to the APC candidate, Mr. Charles Umweni, had told the tribunal that the witness it intends to call, (Anirah) cannot come to the tribunal to testify because he was dead.
He told the tribunal that Anirah died of cardiac attack and cannot be subpoenaed to give evidence in the ongoing case.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter, a middle aged man who claimed to be Anirah stormed the tribunal and stepped into the witness box to give evidence when the chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Adebukole Banjoko called out the name.
Anirah’s appearance caused a stir in the audience, prompting Justice Banjoko to call for calm.
Akporehe of APC is challenging the election victory of Oboro in the National Assembly election held in the state.
Joined in the suit are – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Resident Electoral Commission (REC), PDP and eight others.
Anirah is Oboro’s star witness in the matter.
Anirah , during a cross- examination, by respondents counsel , Mr. Onome Egbon, told the tribunal that he was the rightful candidate of APC for the Okpe, Sapele and Uvwie Federal Constituency in Delta State in the 2015 National Assembly election until his name was ‘fraudulently substituted” with that of Akporehe on account that he (Anirah) was dead.
He told the tribunal that Akporehe allegedly forged a death certificate from a General Hospital that he (Anirah) died of cardiac failure and hypertension, with which he deceived INEC to remove his name from the list of contestants for the election.
He also told the tribunal that somebody who posed as his family member was made to testify before INEC that the death rumour was true.