Akpabio Leads In Tribunal As Ekpenyong And INEC Change Counsels

As the pre-hearing resumed on the suit filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio, challenging the declaration of Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the February 23 Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District election, Counsels to two respondents were absent.

Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, and Mr. Mark Chukwu, Counsels to Engr. Ekpenyong and INEC, respectively, vacated the case.

A Motion for Change of Counsel filed by Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was adopted by the Tribunal.

Umoh shall henceforth represent Engr. Ekpenyong as well as the PDP in the case.

Similarly, Motion for Change of INEC Counsel, Mark Chukwu, filed by Robert Emukpoeruo, was adopted by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal received submissions from both the petitioner’s and Respondents’ Counsels on issues bordering on time frame for respective parties to file documents, number of documents to be filed, number of witnesses intended to be called, witnesses intended to be subpoenaed, and number of expert witnesses to be called.

The Tribunal Chairman, Justice W. O. Akanbi directed the “INEC Counsel to appear at the next sitting with certified true copies of documents INEC is on notice to produce.”

The Tribunal was adjourned to May 27, 2019.

Senator Akpabio and Engr. Ekpenyong contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), respectively.