Ekere Vs Udom: PDP vote stealing spree uncovered In A’Ibom

At the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal today, 26th August 2019 PDP continued the inglorious defence of its candidate Deacon Udom Emmanuel. Deacon Emmanuel had dishonestly been declared winner at the election prompting the challenge by Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC candidate.
1st Respondent counsel, Tayo Oyetibo ( SAN ) in the course of the proceedings called 4 witnesses all of whom were invited to attempt to rebut and discredit the witness testimonies hitherto given at the Tribunal by Petitioners witnesses. First to mount the witness box was Ekanem Ini Willie who was admitted and profiled RW28. He is from Eket LGA and was PDP local government collation Agent. He was led on examination by Respondent to rebut and controvert the witness testimony of Hon. Aniekan Akpan (PW 22) and Bishop Samuel Akpan (PW 43) both of Eket LG and state collation Agents of APC. In their witness testimonies the duo had earlier told the Tribunal that the election was flawed by irregularities in Eket. On examination, RW28 admitted knowing PW22 and PW43. He informed the Tribunal that their testimonies were false. He attempted in futility to controvert the testimony of PW43 that INEC recruited PDP members as ad-hoc staff; that the LG collation centre was populated by members of PDP who compelled INEC staff to do their wish. He further admitted that he voted after being accredited to vote.
On cross examination by Petitioners counsel, J. S. Okutepa ( SAN ), he called for and tendered multiple exhibits which showed that RW28 was not accredited to vote. Aside from exhibit PT192, there was no voter accreditation in the whole of Eket local government in an election in which RW28, an INEC trained election agent claimed was free, fair and transparent.

The second witness invited by 2nd respondent was Augustine Akpan Essien admitted and profiled RW29. He is from Ikot Abia, Okon clan in Eket LG. Led in examination. he admitted knowing Thompson Obong Uko PW16, APC polling Agent for unit 004, primary school, Ikot Abia, Eket urban 1. He admitted that he voted and fsiled todescribed accurately the process whereby he was accredited. He was led to attempt to rebut the testimony of PW16 who had earlier told the Tribunal that there was violence and multiple voting by impostors who used dead and other people’s PVC. He averred that election in the polling unit was free and peaceful. Furthermore, that PW16 signed the result sheet.

On cross examination by Petitioners counsel RW29 admitted that he was not an Agent of his party PDP but a party stalwart and strong supporter. He was confronted with exhibit PT136, the CTC of his unit voter register with his name and image at serial number 521 where it was shown that RW29 thumb printed twice. It was further revealed that while the actual number of accredited voters in the unit was 153, votes returned in the unit was 527 which is tantamount to over voting.
The third witness invited was Michael Magnus Akpan from Ukanafun. He was admitted and profiled RW30. He was PDP LG Agent and was led in evidence to attempt to rebut the witness testimony of a supposed APC local government Agent, Aniedi Sunday Odung whom he alleged signed the LG result with him. Asked whether he knew Ubokobong Udo Oworen PW 34, he said Yes! PW34 had earlier testifief before the Tribunal and given accounts of violence in the LG. He specifically informed the Tribunal of violence in unit 003, ward 5, unit 006, ward 9, unit 004 and 006 of ward 11. RW30 averred that PW34 was not the APC local government Agent. However, that results from those contentious units did not form part of the overall result for the LG which he signed.
On cross examination by Petitioners counsel, it was revealed via exhibits PT192 – 1994 that there was no evidence of a single accreditation in Ukanafun LGA in an election described as free, fair and transparent by RW30.

The 4th witness invited by 2nd respondent was Effiong Effiong Bassey from Idua Asang in Oron LGA. He was admitted and profiled RW31. Led in evidence by 1st Respondent, he claimed that as PDP local government Agent, he signed the LG result with one Mfon Abang Emenyi whom he averred was LG Agent for APC. He further informed the Tribunal that all cancellations in the result ( exhibit RSD25 ) were initialed by both party agents and the INEC LG returning officer, Prof. Godwin Asukwo Akpan. Do you know one Ikot John Eyo? He was APC Agent PW18. He testified before this Tribunal as the polling unit Agent for APC in unit 005, ward 7. He told the Tribunal that there was no result sheet and no collation of result in his unit. As the LG Agent for your party, is that allegation true? Was any such allegation reported at the collation centre? No, it’s not true. You voted at the election? Yes, my Lord. How were you accredited? RW31 proceeded to narrate how he was accredited.

On cross examination by Petitioners counsel, RW31 was asked; as a LG Agent of your party. it is presumed that you supervised the distribution of INEC materials including voter register in your LG. Yes, my Lord. That presupposes that voter register is fundamental for the conduct of a successful election? Yes, my Lord. It is through the voter register that you know the number of registered voters in a polling unit? Yes!
Look at the following exhibits, they are CTC of all the polling units in Oron LG. I want you to examine the voter registers and show the Tribunal anywhere the box besides the name of any voter was ticked as evidence of accreditation. My Lord, I was an observer, it was not my place to tick the boxes, it is the responsibility of INEC .
RW31 remained in the witness box for eternity browsing through the pile of exhibits and could not locate anywhere there was a tick in the box in complance with the process of proper accrediting.

In want of further witnesses and sequel to the request of 2nd Respondent, Tribunal adjourned to Tuesday, 27th August 2019 for continuation of witness examination by 2nd respondent.

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