Four witnesses on Tuesday told the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not conduct elections in their polling units.
The witnesses, who testified on behalf of the petitioners, the All Progressives Congress and its candidate for Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, expressed consternation and informed the tribunal that accreditation and voting did not take place.
The witnesses mostly from Etim Ekpo and Ika Local Government Areas wondered how INEC manufactured improvised results for polling units they did not conduct an election, following the malfunctioning of the card reader.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Aniekan Umanah of the PDP as the winner of the Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency election.
However, at the resumed sitting of tribunal, the witnesses called by the petitioners told the panel under oath that elections did not hold in their various polling units.
Uduak Uko, a witness who said he served as agent to the APC in Obong Ikot Akpan, told the Tribunal that “election did not take place in my polling unit, but surprisingly, I was later shown the result of the election purported to have emanated from INEC without the official stamp.”
Another witness, George Aniekemeabasi, also an agent, said that elections did not take place at his polling Unit, adding “I was surprised to see the result of an election that never took place.”
Eseme Tom Akpan, another APC who appeared as witness his polling unit in Abiakana, also said “election did not hold in my polling unit, but INEC released a result from that same polling unit which had no stamp or signature on it.”
When Solomon Umoh (SAN), Counsel to the 1st Respondent asked why he did not produce the voter’s register for his unit, he informed the tribunal that no voter’s register was produced by INEC officials. “As the authentic agent of my party, I can confirm elections did not hold in my polling Unit. Even the purported result from INEC does not have my signature, we did not see election materials, so how come there are results?”, he queried.
Another witness, Henry Usoro, also testified that accreditation and election never held at his polling unit because INEC officials showed up at the polling unit announced that the card reader had malfunctioned and that sensitive materials for the election were not provided. “My Lord, I have seen the improvised result as shown in this exhibit but elections did not hold. the INEC officials who came did not bring any election materials at the polling unit.”
The witness also informed the tribunal under cross examination by Counsel to INEC that he made a verbal report to the Ward Agent and Security Agencies to notify the umpire that elections did take place in his polling unit.
However, there was mild drama as Counsel to 2nd Respondent and State Legal Adviser of the People’s Democratic Party, Mr. Goddy Umoh, made several gaffes and resorted to politicising the proceedings of the court. During the cross-examination of witnesses, he asked George Aniekemeabasi if he is aware of an unwritten zoning arrangement in the Federal Constituency, a question the witness described as strange and that such arrangement is unconstitutional. He also asked Herny Usoro if he knew Ezekiel Anaka and Obong Ekperikpe Ekpo, the witness replied that he doesn’t keep records but may know about the people in question.
Speaking to Akwa Ibom INFO, a source who confided with our reporter revealed that the questions posed by Mr. Umoh were instigated by PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, who sat with him in court. “You could see when he was writing questions for Mr. Umoh but all of that was irrelevant and inconsequential. None of the question asked was related to the petition before the tribunal. Now that Enoidem has brought his rascality and desperate to the tribunal, you could see that he is completely degenerating”.
Another lawyer sympathetic to the PDP expressed shock and described the development as worrisome and embarrassing for the legal profession in Akwa Ibom State. He urged the Nigerian Bar Association to promptly investigate this professional misconduct. “It is utterly embarrassing for a lawyer to be this unprofessional, honestly NBA should take a look at this”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Justice W.O. Akanbi-led Tribunal which has so far taken a total of 5 witnesses, adjourned to Thursday August 1st, for presentation of final witnesses by the petitioners.
Culled from Akwa Ibom INFO