Tribunal: Udom, PDP, INEC Face Scarcity Of Witnesses

It was another comic moment in the Tribunal on Tuesday to discover that the 2nd respondent who promised the three-man panel on Monday that it will call more witnesses the next day to testify on their behalf failed to do so.

Surprisingly, the 2nd Respondent’s Counsel informed the Tribunal of its decision to close its defense as they do not intend to call more witnesses.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents on the Petition filed by the Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and his Party in the just concluded Governorship election, were unable to muster witnesses in their defence to the Petition.

The Petitioners’ called a total of forty-six witnesses in proof of their case. The Petitioners’ witnesses in their respective testimonies before the Tribunal narrated how irregularities and violence marred the said elections.

Ekere in his testimony urged the tribunal to nullify the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Akwa Ibom State. According to him, the just concluded election did not follow electoral guidelines as stipulated in Electoral Act. He also urged the Tribunal to order for fresh election in the State where citizens would be allowed to freely exercise their franchise.

At the close of Ekere’s testimony, the Respondents took turns to call their witnesses in defence of the results declared by INEC.

Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel who is sued as 1st Defendant called Twenty witnesses. PDP on its part assembled twelve witnesses while the electoral umpire (INEC) who declared the duo winners, told the Tribunal that it has no witness and pledged to rely on witness dispositions of first and second respondents.

It could be recalled that PDP during it defense on Monday assured that it will called more witnesses on Tuesday, but on Tuesday when full proceedings of the Tribunal was set to resume, they informed the Tribunal that they had no witnesses to testify again. PDP urged the Tribunal to close its defense.

On its part, INEC who should have commenced its defense today likewise said it had no witness to present, but will rely on testimonies of first and second respondents.

During cross-examination of witnesses presented by first and second respondents by the Petitioner’s counsel, all respondents witnesses accused INEC for failure to tick the voters’ registers during accreditation in the election.

The Tribunal adjourned to September 10, 2019 for adoption of written addresses by all Counsel.