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Tribunal Update: Gov Udom’s Witness Blames APC for Election Rigging

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The alleged disruption of elections by an APC chieftain in Nsit Atai local government Major General Edet Akpan (rtd) accounts for the cancellation of elections in

Units 2-7 of Nsit Atai Ward 2, a witness has said. 

Mr Uduak Ekpewo, who testified in support of Gov Udom Emmanuel, told the ongoing governorship elections petitions tribunal in Abuja that General Akpan on Election Day on April 11 led his army bodyguards to forcefully cart away election materials in over 7 units thereby disenfranchising the voters who had thronged out to vote. 

Mr Ekpewo, who was the PDP agent in Unit 1, as well as the Local government collation agent of the party, said he saw when the retired army general was whisked away by the security agents who passed through his unit to Uyo the state capital. 

Being led in evidence by Counsel to the PDP Tayo Oyetibi (SAN), Mr Ekpewo told the tribunal that the APC candidate for Nsit Atai state constituency Mr John Harry came to the local government collation center to advise the APC agent against endorsing the result sheets, following the arrest of their leader Gen Akpan by the security agents.

The witness under cross examination by Mr Solomon Umoh (SAN), the lead counsel for Mr Umana Umana insisted that General Akpan was arrested and charged to court for electoral offences.

An attempt by the petitioner to use a statement earlier deposed by Mr Lawrence Udosen was swiftly objected by counsel to the first respondent Paul Usoroh (SAN), who referred the tribunal to its earlier decision that any statement by any witness not admitted in the tribunal cannot be used to discredit another witness. 

The petitioner later tendered a document to show the Justice Sadiq Umar-chaired tribunal that the case against the retired general had since been dropped; to which Chief Tayo Oyetibi (SAN) counsel to PDP, promptly informed the tribunal that the document only showed that Gen Akpan was discharged for want of prosecution and was actually not acquitted by the court.

Two other witnesses Mr Inemesit Sunday Itina, and Obong Emmanuel Titus from Etinan also appeared before the tribunal today to debunk an earlier testimony of petitioners witness Number 6, Mr Iniobong Jackson.

Mr Itina and Obong Titus representing two different wards from Etinan said contrary to claim by Mr Iniobong Jackson, that there was actually due accreditation and election in Etinan in which the governorship candidate of the PDP Mr Udom Emmanuel emerged victorious.

The second witness Mr Inemesit Sunday Itina from Ikot Osong Iman, Etinan local government said he voted at his unit, the Cooperative Hall, Ikot Osong, Northern Iman, Ward 1, Etinan LGA.

During cross examination, Mr Itina who admitted to being a former councilor said as at the time he voted, there were other voters at the unit and that there was no violence at his unit and his ward.

On his part, Obong Emmanuel Titus from Mbioto 1 in Etinan who identified himself as the party’s agent in the ward said he had voted at Unit 003,Ward 1 before proceeding to Community Secondary School, Asuna where the ward collation took place.

Another witness Attih Okon James from Ebighi Okpo, Esit Eket also confirmed that he voted on April11, 2015 election. 

The defense witness explained to the tribunal that he was accredited manually by the INEC official who tried unsuccessfully for three times to get him accredited with the card reader and that his name was ticked by the INEC official and later was called upon to vote under a peaceful atmosphere.

Solomon Umoh SAN and Dayo Akinlaja led the APC Governorship Candidate’s legal team today.

So far four witnesses have testified while about three more are still being expected. Governor Emmanuel’s witnesses are expected to conclude their testimonies today.

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