The Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital has concluded hearings in the Petition filed by Obong Nsima Ekere and the APC in Akwa Ibom State challenging outcome of the terribly manipulated March 9, 2019 Governorship Elections in the State.
Riding on the wings of the hypocritical #OnlyGod Campaign mantra, Governor Udom of the PDP was declared to have scored 519, 712 votes, while his closest rival was allocated a miserly 171, 978 votes. It is alleged that INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr. Mike Igini worked closely with the PDP to ensure victory for Governor Udom and other PDP Candidates in the elections.
Sources have also forcefully argued that Mr. Igini’s partisan disposition in favour of the PDP was based on concrete agreements and assurances that he will succeed Professor Mahmoud Yakubu as INEC Chairman, hence a thoroughly compromised Igini had started behaving and making sweeping statements like the INEC Chairman would do. He self-styled himself as “Son of Man”. Few days to the scheduled elections, through the repeated play of the video clip wherein Igini espoused INEC purported use of a central server in the last election, Mr. Igini declared as guest on Sunday Politics on Channels Television that INEC was going to electronically collate and transmit election results by use of the INEC “central server”. He is rumoured to have been primed to testify on behalf of the PDP Presidential Candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as part of the bargain for eventual appointment as INEC Chairman.
INEC has not only long denied Mr. Igini and his tales, but has disowned the “central server” claim. Mr. Igini has gone under and manages to find a voice through the PDP media apparatchik.
At the Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal, all witnesses who hitherto sang Igini’s “central server” chorus changed tune as he was not the official spokesperson for INEC and they could not say he was mandated to so speak on behalf of INEC. Atiku has failed to substantiate his Petition by linking his claims to any INEC “central server”. The Supreme Court has recently put the final nail to the wild “central server” goose chase.
At the Governorship Tribunal in Uyo, all the witnesses who testified in defence of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the PDP have blamed Igini’s INEC for non-accreditation State-wide. This is not the best of times for Mr. Igini and his paymasters. Governor Udom and his Party have been put through excruciating pains and left at the mercy of JS. Okutepa, SAN, Counsel for the Petitioners. He unbundled the claims of “free and fair” sanctimony under cross-examination in the course of trial. INEC has opted to patronize the cowardly option. They would rather continue to share in the ignominy of the 1st and 2nd Respondents. It’s safer not to call witnesses. But during pre-hearing, 1st Respondent Counsel, Assam Assam ( SAN ) informed the Tribunal that his client, Udom Emmanuel will call 64 witnesses and ended up calling 20. The 2nd Respondent’s Counsel also told the Tribunal that PDP was poised to call 53 witnesses and ended up calling 11. What happened to their witnesses?
It was also observed that some very prominent SANs who entered appearance for Governor Udom and PDP who didn’t want to be identified with failure abandoned the case and left same to indigenous SANs who stood in mostly for damage control purposes. One of them said the exhibits were “monster”. The other is reported to have admitted that the case of the Respondents was irredeemably bad. From his base at a new hotel within the neighbourhood of Ibom Hall, he confided in our source that the situation was terribly bad and gave insights into why the Legal team had resorted to issuing witness subpoenas. He also broached the idea of conscripting a highly placed member of the APC with close ties to Obong Nsima Ekere to testify against the APC for a fee and some mouth-watering offers. That plot also failed.
Having run out of witnesses whose testimonies could improve their battered case, the PDP opted to close its defence unceremoniously after calling 11 witnesses.
To shore up confidence amongst its members and for media effect, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), a frontline member of the Atiku Presidential Legal team was brought in on the last day just to say the vote of thanks. How this saves the already battered case of the Respondents is left to be seen.
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