3rd September, 2015
Witnesses for Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to adequately counter the evidences provided by Umana Umana, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate on the second day of defence by the 1st Respondent before the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.
Although the witnesses stated that election was peaceful, they failed to establish that the election was not rigged.
Election was free and fair in Ikot Abasi LGA even without any accreditation, a former Commissioner for Commence and Industry, Hon Toby Nkangudeh told the tribunal on Thursday.
When confronted with the voters register of his polling unit marked exhibit 289A and 289G, he confirmed that though no single voter was ticked as having being accredited for the April 11, 2015 election, the election was generally peaceful.
He denied invading the polling unit in three Hilux vehicle, shooting sporadically on election day and carting away of election materials. Asked of his occupation, he had earlier told the tribunal that he has been a trader for over two decades but agreed that he did not state the fact that he was a member of the State Executive Council in his deposition before the tribunal.
Also speaking during cross examination, the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr Etido Inyang told the court that election held in Ikot Ekpene and restriction of movement on election day was enforced by security agents.
The former Special Adviser to former Governor Godswill Akpabio on Technical Matters said he and his wife trekked from his house to the polling unit, got accredited, voted and went back to the house to monitor progress through phone calls and radio broadcast.
“No case of violence occurred in the senatorial district and the police did their job effectively,” he submitted.
He was however speechless when he was given a police report of cases of murder, sporadic shooting, threat to life in Ini and Obot Akara LGA.
Also testifying, Hon Ezekiel Jacob Obot from Oruk Anam said election was conducted in Oruk Anam LGA. He dismissed the proposition of Don Etiebet who had earlier testified as a witness for the petitioners, APC and Umana Umana.
Etiebet had earlier stated that no election took place at his polling unit on election day. But Obot disagreed, noting that, he never saw Etiebet on election day at the polling unit.
When confronted with the fact that his polling unit 006 where he claimed he voted had no voters register, the former councillor in the then Ukanafun LGA told the tribunal that himself and Etiebet do not have the same polling unit.
In the same vein, Mr. Samuel Benjamin Bassey who said Bishop Samuel Akpan, a witness for Umana, was wrong when he testified that no election took place in Onna LGA, insisted he voted at his polling unit 001 in Ward 3. He explained that his village had five polling units and that election took place in all the five units.
When confronted with the fact that there was no accreditation in his polling unit for the governorship election even though he was alleged to have voted for the National Assembly and Presidential election, he told the tribunal that he only voted according to the dictate of INEC officials on duty. “There were many registers on the table, I don’t know which one was voters register but I voted,” he said.
More shocking was the testimony of Hon Friday Obot from Mkpat Enin LGA who insisted that election took place in his area and the PDP had agents in all the 14 wards of the council.
He however could not defend himself when he was shown the ward result sheets of the 14 wards that was signed by a former Commissioner in the state, Barr Jerry Akpan.
He uttered no word when asked if Barr Akpan whose signature appeared as Ward agent was the only PDP Ward agent for the entire Local Government Area.
All the witnesses tendered their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) before the tribunal and the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the PVC’s were according accepted by the tribunal and marked as exhibits while the original copy of the PVC’s were returned to the owners to be produced on demand at the tribunal.
The petition was adjourned to Friday, September 4, 2015 for continuation of hearing.