Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien has said Governor Udom Emmanuel’s victory in the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Akwa Ibom State was based on radio reports.
Senator Ibok Essien stated this while testifying for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) sued as 2nd Respondents in the Petition filed by Mr. Nsima Ekere and All Progressives Congress (APC). Senator Ibok Essien is listed as RW23 and had filed a written statement on Oath in defence of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s declaration as winner of the Governorship election in the ongoing Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo.
In his written statement on Oath, Senator Ibok Essien had averred that elections across the State were the freest and fairest conducted by INEC since 1999. He stated that he was accredited and he voted In Unit 005, Ward 4 in Ikot Ekpene for Governor Udom Emmanuel and thereafter accompanied the electoral materials to the Ward and Local Government Collation centres.
Under cross-examination by Petitioners Counsel J.S. Okutepa, SAN leading Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, Prof. Joash Amupitan, SAN etc, the following interaction ensued:
Okutepa: Were you accredited?
Okutepa: Tell the Tribunal the process of accreditation
Senator: Narrates process of accreditation.
Okutepa: You refer to yourself as a stakeholder and member of Divine Mandate Campaign Organization?
Okutepa: You worked closely with Elder Okon Patrick Albert who testified earlier in the proceedings in Divine Mandate Campaign Organization?
Senator: Yes. He was Chairman of NUJ (Nigeria Union of Journalists).
Okutepa: You testified globally and declared that the election in Akwa Ibom State was the freest, fairest and most credible since 1999?
Okutepa: Including the elections that made you a Senator in 1999?
Senator: Yes because the Card Reader has been introduced.
Okutepa: Were you a polling unit agent?
Okutepa: Do you know that on election day, there is restriction of movement except you’re on essential services escorted by security?
Okutepa: So you did not leave your polling unit?
Senator: No, I did not.
Okutepa: How then did you know elections were free and fair across the whole State?
Senator: I heard commentaries on radio.
Okutepa: And on TV?
Okutepa: Finally Distinguished Senator, you deposed on Oath that you were accredited and voted at Ward 4, unit 005. Please look for your name and photo in the certified true copy (CTC) of INEC’s voters register and show this honourable Tribunal.
Curiously, the Senator’s name or photograph did not appear where he claimed to have voted. The entire evidence of Parties and witnesses in an election Petition are contained in their depositions on Oath. By his admission and showing, it was obvious the Senator never voted. If anything, his testimony put a lie to the initial testimony of Elder Okon Patrick Albert who testified as RW17 and denied membership of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Divine Mandate Campaign Organization. Elder Okon Albert has claimed he interfaced with all Parties in the election as an independent monitor.
Mr. Nsima Ekere and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are challenging the outcome of the said election and seeking a nullification of same on grounds of corrupt practices, irregularities and being contrary to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the Guidelines for the Elections issued by INEC.
Hearing in the Petition continues as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had pleaded for more time and given an undertaking to conclude its case on Tuesday without fail.