It was savage yesterday, 29th Aug, 2019 at Panel 1 of The State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, as member representing Urueoffong/Oruko State Constituency, Hon. Asuquo Edet Archibong caught lying about his age and academic qualifications.
Under cross examination by Counsel to the Petitioners, Chief Victor Iyanam, Hon. Archibong admitted to being a classmate of the 2nd Petitioner, Barr. Aniefiok Omen Bassey at Ubodung Community Secondary School from SS1 to SS3 between 1994 and 1996. He was then shown a copy of his First School Leaving Certificate(FSLC) which indicated he finished Primary Six in 1994, the same year he claimed to be in SS1.
In Form CF001 which Hon. Archibong filed with INEC, he claimed to have worked with Globestar Ltd between 2010 and 2013. Asked what he did as an employee of Globestar, he said he worked offshore in the Safety Department. On the location where he worked, he said he traveled and worked in several offshore platforms in Nigeria, Angola and Norway. He became dumbfounded when Petitioners’ Counsel showed him a column in Form CF001 completed by him where he claimed to be a student of Ubodung Community Secondary School, Oruko between 2008 and 2014, the same period he was working offshore and traveling around the world.
Asked what subjects he took in WASCE, he said “My Lord, I wrote English Language, Mathematics, Economics, Geography and others”. Asked further to show where Geography was listed in his certificate, he remained mute feigning dumbness.
Asked to attest to the veracity of the averment in an affidavit where he claimed he was born on 22nd October, 1978 whereas his WAEC Certificate and Voter’s Card showed he was born on 22nd October, 1992 and 3rd May, 1979 respectively, he again remained silent.
During Examination in Chief, he tendered an Affidavit of Facts wherein he blamed the issuing authorities, namely WAEC and INEC for the “errors”. He alleged he made complaints to the authorities seeking for the error to be redressed. When asked whether he had duplicate copies of the letters he wrote to these authorities to tender as exhibits, he said he had none. That he merely drove to their offices to complain.
Another drama occurred when two subpoenaed witnesses, Asuquo Uwara and Etim Okon Mkpesit who claimed they were APC agents but offered to testify against their supposed Party ended up exposing the fraud perpetrated by the PDP at the election. Under the heat of cross examination by Chief Iyanam, Mr Uwara fumbled. He claimed in his Witness Statement on Oath that he was the APC agent in his Unit; that his Party lost to the PDP in a free, fair and credible election. When shown the election result, he disputed the figures saying those were not the figures on the result he signed. Pressed further, he admitted APC scored 485 while PDP scored 125 votes contrary to the figures on the form which awarded victory to the PDP.
Etim Mkpesit was shown a paragraph in his Statement on Oath where he said election was free, fair, credible. That votes were sorted, counted, results duly entered in the results sheet and signed by Party Agents, including himself. When asked to show where he or any other agent appended their signature on the result sheet, Mr Mkpesit fiegned blindness saying he could not see clearly.
Mr Joseph Joe, Comrade Charles Emene and Mr Offong Okon, all PDP Ward Collation Agents for Wards 1, 5 and 9 who claimed the election was free and fair failed to show they were accredited before casting their votes. Mr Joseph Joe became unruly when asked to show his name was ticked in the voter register as an indication of proper accreditation. His unruly behaviour prompted the tribunal to threaten to commit him to prison for contempt if he failed to respect the court.
During re-examination, the trio were led by their Lawyer to feign ignorance of the need to tick the voters’ register as evidence of proper accreditation before voting. However, when Hon. Efiong William of Ward 6 was cross examined, it was seen that INEC had ticked the box against his name as evidence of accreditation. He agreed under cross examination that ticking the box against his name was the proper thing to do by INEC thereby inadvertently countering the position of the other PDP witnesses who “voted” without accreditation and feigned ignorance of same.
The Tribunal adjourned to Sunday 1st September 2019, at 9:00Am prompt.
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