The number trap continued to play a cruel joke on Udom Emmanuel and his sitting duck PDP today at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in
A witness who introduced himself as Otuekong Uduak Ekpeowo from Etop Udom in Nsit Atai Local Government Area and identified as DW13 was led in evidence for the defence by Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Witness Ekpeowo told the tribunal that there was election in Nsit Atai but alleged that Gen. Edet Akpan, whom he described as the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nsit Atai, had hijacked election materials meant for seven units in ward 2 in the local government area. He added that General Akpan was subsequently arrested by the Police and is currently standing trial in Akwa Ibom State.
Under cross examination by Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, counsel to the petitioner, the witness claims on all sides were again shredded by another instance of bespoke gruelling scrutiny. The counsel presented a Certified True Copy (CTC) of a Certificate of Discharge issued by the Chief Magistrate Court of Akwa Ibom State to show that contrary to the testimony of the PDP witness, Gen. Edet Akpan had been discharged by the Court, and was no longer standing trial before any court in Akwa Ibom State. The background is that then Governor Akpabio had bundled General Akpan into DSS detention on trumped up charges on Election Day, while his real offence was a perceived lack of support for the PDP, and was subsequently arraigned in court on allegation of election fraud. Akpabio had no evidence to go on with the case which was subsequently struck out and the accused discharged.
The petitioner’s evidence sorely embarrassed the counsel to the PDP who tried to save the situation through incessant objections but was valiantly resisted by Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), a courthouse battle-hardened warrior. The Tribunal admitted the CTC of the Certificate of Discharge and marked it exhibit 360. That was one more testimony shot down. And another loss to Udom and his clan of losers.
Then the number trap that has dogged Udom’s path since hearing opened on the petition filed by Umana Okon Umana, Akwa Ibom APC governorship candidate for the 2015 election, was not about to end. The witness, Ekpeowo, like other humiliated defence witnesses before him, had earlier told the tribunal that there was accreditation and election in his Local Government. In his forensic examination of the witness, counsel to the petitioner handed him two pieces of documents and ordered him to read them. Ekpeowo, by now trembling from the last humiliation and sensing more trouble, demurred and finally refused the read the documents. It would soon become clear why he refused to read them. All defence witnesses in this hearing had recoiled from truth-bearing evidence since their case opened on Wednesday. Literally speaking, the documents Ekpeowo refused to read were hemlock to him and his cause.
They were two pieces of INEC documents, which contradicted each other. They showed that the total number of accredited voters in Exhibit 317, which is the Card Reader record, had only 9, 606 persons qualified, by accreditation, to vote in the election; the other document showed that INEC declared 23, 977 as number of people who voted for the PDP in the evidence marked Exhibit DD 19. This showd a positive differential of 14,371 in favour of the votes Austin Okojie’s INEC declared for Udom and the PDP. How do the respondents account for the difference? Ghosts must have voted in the election!!! Or this was Udom magic, whose recipe, we hope, will be made known at the end of the day. Who knows, we could use it to multiply the state’s scarce resources and thereby easily pay off our debts.
For the PDP witness the diary of lies was to continue. In his sworn witness statement, he had stated that his party had Ward Collation Agents for all the Wards in Nsit Attai Local Government. But in the courtroom he was confronted with exhibit that showd that he signed the election results for his party both as the Ward Collation Agent and the Local Government Collation Agent. The exposure of the latest PDP/Udom fraud threw the courthouse into a quake of laughter.
The revelations in court about PDP witnesses and their summersaults in Abak, Etinan, everywhere else, make a very depressing read. These PDP guys are stewing in their juices.
And where is Umana, the enigma of Akwa Ibom politics, in all this? He is there, rock-solid, choking Udom to submission in a merciless sleeper hold.
…with reports from APC media team in Abuja
By Iboro Otongaran, Lagos