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A’Ibom Election Tribunal: Umana’s Lead Counsel Missing

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Umana Umana*2nd counsel seeks exemption as Etido Inyang, ors testify*

All may not be well in the camp of the defeated governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress,

Mr. Umana Okon Umana [image above] at the Akwa Ibom State Elections Petition Tribunal in Abuja, as his lead counsel Chief Wale Olanipekun SAN, recorded a conspicuous absence in court while Dayo Akinlaja who called the shots on Thursday has already offered to be excused on Saturday.

Speaking during plenary yesterday, Dayo pleaded that, “My lord permit me to intimate you that I would not be around on Saturday as I will be meeting my doctor over a medical condition, and I cannot say if my brother Wale Olanipekun will be able to come. ”

It is not clear why the APC lead counsels are developing nausea for the tribunal only two days after the defense witnesses started testifying, although some analysts attribute it frustration following the consistency in the testimonies of Governor Udom Emmanuel/PDP witnesses.

At some point, the tribunal judge Sadiq Umar intervened and urged the lawyer to be civil in conduct.

While quizzing Engr. Etido Inyang the state Commissioner for Special Duties, a disenchanted Akinlaja had asked him if elections on April 11 were peaceful in Ikot Ekpene local government area, to which the witness answered in the affirmative.

On whether the entire Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District recorded a peaceful election, Etido Inyang replied that he was duly accredited in his unit using a card reader and he left after he had voted, and that he learnt from elections updates on the radio that elections were generally peaceful in his senatorial district.

A startled Akinlaja who was obviously running out of patience started shouting at Engr. Etido Inyang, who maintained that he trekked to his polling unit on the said day in company of his wife and left after casting his vote.

The petitioner’s lawyer then referred him to a police report that recorded an instance of a man who was killed in Ini local government area as well as another case of gun shots in Obot Akara local government.

He asked Etido Inyang to read the police account, which he did with hesitation while maintaining that he did not witness or hear about the incidents since none of them took place in Ikot Ekpene local government on the said day.

The tribunal judge, acting on the suggestion by the 1st respondent’s lead counsel Paul Usoro (SAN) had to call Akinlaja to order and citing relevant sections of the law, urged Akinlaja to be guided by the fundamental principles established in quizzing witnesses.

The visibly rattled few members of the APC camp who came to the Tribunal were discussing the matter in hushed tones. They frowned at the erratic disposition of the lead counsel of the day, Dayo Akinlaja who shouted down at witnesses without necessarily making any point that could advance the crumbling case of the APC.

Four other witnesses, including a former Commissioner Ufot Nkangude, also testified telling the tribunal that they voted in a peaceful atmosphere in their respective units.

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