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GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION TRIBUNAL UPDATE: NSIMA vs UDOM

the resumed sitting of Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at Uyo, the Governorship Candidate of All Progressives Congress, Obong Nsima Ekere, through his lead counsel, J. S. Okutepa, SAN, presented additional five Witnesses for testimony and cross examination in order of appearance and replication thusly:

Petitioner’s Witness (PW) Seven, PW7 : Mr. Raymond Joseph Udoka, APC Ward one collation Agent from Essien Udim LGA, affirmed on oath that APC won election with a wide margin at his polling unit, but the result was not used at local government collation centre by INEC Presiding Officer.

PW8: Mr. Ekwere Akpan Umoh, APC Polling Unit Agent from Ikot Itiat village in Oruk Anam LGA, deposed to theTribunal that there was no election in his ward because votes were not counted at respective polling units.
He confirmed that voting took place but INEC officials did not count votes cast, so there was no election because the processes were not concluded when PDP supporters came in large number to his polling unit and brutalized him, other APC members, and intimidated voters before carting away election materials.

PW9: Mr. Blessed Asuquo Akpan, APC Agent from Esuk Ediene, Ikono LGA informed the Tribunal on oath that PDP employed local security agents in all the polling units in the area to cause trouble. He affirmed further that APC members were barred from voting and that dishevelled the place to no election situation without results.

PW10: Mr.Christopher Dickson Inang APC polling Agent from Ikot Ekong in Mkpat Enin LGA, attested on oath that election Materials were carted away by PDP supporters at about 1.00 PM with two vehicles thus disrupting the election and made it inconclusive.

PW11: Dr. Martins Obot Ikono, APC Ward Agent from Essah Ekpo, Ibiaku Ward 03, polling unit 002, Mkpat Enin LGA, speaking under oath apprised the Tribunal that the results of election were not announced at the polling units and collation of results did not take place in his ward collation centre and as such there was no election.

During the cross examination by the first, second and third respondents representing Udom Emmanuel, PDP and INEC repectively, the five witnesses solemnly affirmed and accentuated in the separate cross examination period that there was no trace of credibility in the last governorship election in the LGAs testified, concurring that, the so called March 09, 2019 governorship election in Akwa Ibom was submerged in deep crises, chaos and fracas: unprecedented in the annals of politics in Akwa Ibom State as it was superfluously characterized by violence arising from election materials hijacking, carting away, results manipulations, non counting of results at polling units, non collation of results at ward collation centres, non availability of result sheets at the Polling units, maiming, bloodshed and in most cases deaths, with INEC hand in gloves with PDP, flooding of fake security agents, collaboration of some genuine security agents with PDP, preparation of results outside polling units, votes purchase, financially induced atmosphere at polling units, no secret balloting as PDP agents insisted to see the thumbprinted ballot papers of voters to know the party they voted for to confirm compliance to the money they paid.

In their different responses to questions put to them at individual appearance , it was unilaterally established that the atmosphere at the polling units were like if people were at the theatre of war, that if you were lucky to escaped death, you might not run away from injuries or assults.

Also earlier in the day,
the petitioner’s lead counsel Mr. S. I. Okutepa, informed the Tribunal that a certain unknown person using strange number sent a text message to one of the petitioner’s witnesses, Dr. Ita Udosen, APC State Deputy Chairman who testified on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.The said text message has the content stated thus, “as you have testified, get set for your obituary”.
Okutepa asserted, that very threat to life has impinged fear on the mind of other witnesses who were willingly ready to testified before the Tribunal. He therefore implored the Tribunal to do something urgently in the interest of Justice to avert such situation.

In his response, the Tribunal’s Chairman, Justice A. W. Yakubu recalled that at the commencement of this Tribunal, some people forwarded reports to the Appeal Court asking the court not to allow the Tribunal to sit in Uyo, preferably to have its sittings at Abuja, which in its wisdom the Appeal Court did not grant the prayer. Rather, it instructed that the Tribunal should sit in Uyo, the State Capital of Akwa Ibom State with the standing
instruction that the Tribunal should report any security threat to it.
He promised to send this particular report to the Appeal Court.

In the ambience of pleasantries, Tribunal adjourned to Tuesday July 16, 2019.

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