Report of the Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) confirmed that the security reports which the Labour Party (LP) tendered before the Justice Nabaruma-led Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal to prove that its candidate, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, won the 2007 governorship election in the state were forged, National Mirror can reveal.
The report, entitled: Police investigation report on a case of forgery and altering of State Security Service report, said eight of the nine security reports presented by the LP before the tribunal were discovered to be fake.
The judgments of the tribunal and the Appeal Court, Benin Division, which sacked the former governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, from office were essentially based on the security reports which claimed that the 2007 elections were marred with irregularities and violence in some Local Government Areas where Agagu won.
Following the petition addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan by the former governor in May 2010 urging the president to investigate the matter, the Inspector-General of Police directed that Agagu’s claim be investigated.
According to the police report, a letter was written to the Director General of the State Security Service to confirm if the security reports in the state during the 2007 governorship elections were forged. The report added that the Director General confirmed that eight out of the nine SSS reports tendered at the tribunal did not emanate from the organization.
The police report further said that the SSS boss tried and clarified the differences between the genuine reports of the organization and the forged ones presented at the tribunal. In Okitipupa Local Government Area, while the genuine report dated April 15, 2007, dwelt on the general conduct and activities of all the parties, INEC and security agents in the election, the forged report dated April 16, 2007, reported late arrival of election materials and allegations against PDP thugs at Igbotako and Ilutitun areas of the LGA.
The genuine report on the election in Ese-Odo Local government Area dated April 15, 2007, highlighted the activities of some security agents as well as members of the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party. But the fake report tendered by Governor Mimiko’s team of lawyers dated April 16, 2007 said election was not conducted in some unnamed areas in the local government area. Saying that the elections were not free and fair where they were conducted, the fake security report further alleged that some PDP stalwarts imported thump printed ballots boxes in favour of their party.
While the genuine security report on the election in Irele Local Government Area dated April 15, 2007 talked about the general conduct of the election, the forged report centered on the activities of the then Council Chairman and the PDP. It went further to indict an unnamed PDP leader who allegedly took ballot boxes to his residence where they thump-printed and returned them to INEC.
On the election in Odigbo Local Government Area, the original report dated April 15, 2007 raised the issue of ballot box snatching but did not indict any political party. It said election materials were promptly distributed by INEC and that officials of the commission were relatively objective. It also reported the whole process of the election. But the fake report which also dated April 15, 2007 said election did not take place in Ore and that one of the INEC officials cast vote for PDP.
The original report on the election in Ileoluji/Okeigbo Local Government Area was dated April 14, 2007 and that the election were conducted in all the 157 polling units in the LGA with pockets of skirmishes involving mainly the PDP and the LP. The forged report dated April 14, 2007 indicted members of the PDP for snatching ballot boxes. While it alleged that PDP attacked some members of the LP, it accused the police of intimidating LP members and disallowing them to vote.
The forged report on the election in Ose Local Government Area reproduced the original report which raised issues concerning the activities of a politician in the area verbatim in a detective format.
According to the Police, from the investigation conducted, it was clear that the security reports that the LP lawyers tendered at the tribunal in Akure were forged. It therefore recommended that all the persons involved be arraigned in court.
Agagu had in May, 2010, addressed a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan claiming that the two judgments that removed him from power were essentially based on fake security reports. The former governor pleaded with Jonathan to order that his claims be investigated.
He had written in the petition: “My tenure as Governor of Ondo state was terminated on 23rd February, 2009 upon the verdict of the court of appeal sitting in Benin which confirmed the rulling of the Justice Nabaruma-led Tribunal which awarded the gubernatorial elections of 14th April, 2007 to Dr. Mimiko of the Labour Party.
“Essentially, the verdict of the tribunal and the Appeal Court were based on the acceptance by the judges that elections in 10 LGAs where PDP won were marred with irregularities and violence and therefore cancelled over 63% of votes cast in these LGAs while retained all the votes in the seven LGAs where Labour Party won. In both judgments, the decision of the judges was substantially based on the fake security reports purportedly written by SSS which flawed the elections only in the local government areas where I won.
“It must be emphasized that our lawyers objected to the admission of these purported SSS reports especially since the SSS officer subpoenaed stated clearly in the open Tribunal that the Department of State Security Service did not have such reports. In spite of this, the judges still laid credence on the fake reports stating that the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained.”
The former governor had added in the petition that he was not interested in the judicial review of his case but that, “It is clear that if people who perpetrate forgery to pervert the course of justice and democracy and thereby change the course of lives of millions of people are allowed to go scot-free, they will be further emboldened to create even greater harm to our fledging democratic experiment.”
Agagu has againg writen the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJ) on the basis of the findings of the the Police Special Investigation Panel which discovered that the security reports used by Mimiko to displace the former governor from power were forged.
Agagu said in the petition: “My grouse with the verdicts of the Tribunal; and the Court of Appeal is essentially on the acceptance by the two tiers of courts that elections in ten Local Governments where I won were marredwith irregularities while conveniently all the votes cast in the 7 Local Governments where the Labour Party won were retained.
“In both judgments, (Tribunal and the Court of Appeal) the decision of the Judges was based on the Security Reports purportedly written by the SSS. The Security Reports which have now been pronounced to be forgeries by the SSS and the Police were the fulcrum of the decisions.
“Mr. Chairman Sir, my counsel objected to the admission of the fake SSS Reports more so that the SSS Officer who was subpoenaed by my opponents stated on oath that the service did not originate or possess such reports!
“The PDP lost more than 62,926 votes through this flaw in just two Local Government Areas (Okitipupa and Irele) where the fake SSS reports were directly used in the judgements and could have influenced decisions in other Local Government Areas.
“You will agree with my Lord that it is against public interest for a party in a suit to produce fraudulent evidence to deceive the court into giving him a favourable judgement. On ground of public policy and equity, he should not be permitted or allowed to profit or to continue to enjoy the fruits of such fraudulent victory or judgement particularly where it has to do with a very sensitive political office such as the exalted office of Governor of a State.”
There is no doubt that Agagu is desirous of justice in the case but will the CJN act on his latest petition and ensure that the culprits are exposed and punished? The Nigerian public and indeed the World are watching.
Source: National Mirror