Four PDP local government collation agents at the April 11, 2015 governorship elections have testified at the ongoing Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal that
elections in Etim Ekpo, Ikono, Etinan and Ikot Abasi took place in accordance with the stipulated electoral guidelines.
[Pictured above: Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state]
Testifying before the Justice Sadiq Umar chaired three man panel of judges at the Court 8 of the FCT High Court in Abuja the four witnesses of the 2nd Respondent (Akwa Ibom State PDP) told the tribunal that they witnessed the disbursement of election materials by the electoral umpires at their respective local government collation centers for onward transmission to the wards in the areas.
Testifying under examination, Barr Chris Okorie a former councilor and local government chairman in Etim Ekpo admitted to seeing a member of the APC a certain Mr. Charles Udoetuk (PW12) on the day of the election, but denied knowledge of his role for that party.
Okorie disagreed with the position of Charles Udoetuk who was a witness to the petitioner, and insisted that elections took place and that he voted at his Polling Unit 004 in ward 7.
Also testifying was Dr Anthony Effiong Usoroh a University Lecturer and PDP local government agent for Ikono who said he also voted in his polling unit, before proceeding to witness the collation and announcement of result in his local government collation center.
Mr. Justus Emmanuel Etim from Ikot Abasi LGA also told the tribunal that he was present at the INEC Headquarters in Ikot Abasi, and that collation took place after the election which was generally peaceful.
The final witness of the day for the PDP, Bishop Andrew Uwanta also re-affirmed his earlier written statement that as collation officer for the local government, he witnessed a peaceful and credible election in Etinan. He said when the ward collation of two wards were conducted in the local government collation center by the independent national electoral commission officials, it was late in the night and he without unavailability of the agents of the two wards, he mandated another agent to witness the collation and to endorse for the party.
Speaking to journalists after adjournment of Tuesday’s proceedings, the lead counsel to the PDP Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) said so far his witnesses have maintained that there was election and that the pattern of election in the state since 1999 was always in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Also Speaking, Paul Usoro (SAN) counsel to the 1st defendant said they were determined to prove to the tribunal that there was a credible election in Akwa Ibom State, and the defense witnesses have been consistent in their testimonies that there was that people voted freely in the April 11 elections.
The counsel to the petitioner Umana Umana of the All Progressives Congress which were led by Solomon Umoh (SAN) and Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) are insisting that there was no credible governorship elections in Akwa Ibom State.
By Mfonobong Ukpong