Politics

Akpabio’s Testifiers Disregarded, Described As “Ineligible Voter, Unaccredited Agent”

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Senator Godswill Akpabio in court

An APC chieftain who came to testify in support of Senator at the ongoing Elections Petition Tribunal, Cletus Udoakpan today stunned the tribunal when he failed to prove that he voted in the just concluded elections.

Just as another witness Ubokutom Nyah failed to explain the absence of his name among APC agents duly recognized by the , INEC. 

Udoakpan who claimed to be the Presidential/National Assembly ward agent of APC for Ekpenyong Ward 1, could not present a voter’s card to substantiate his claims that he voted in Uruk Obong 2 Unit, Ekpenyong Ward 1, Essien Udim Local Government Area.

A chagrined Senator Godswill Akpabio who had earlier exchanged pleasantries with his successor Senator Chris Ekpenyong, both watched proceedings from different sections of the courtroom.

Solomon Umoh, SAN Counsel to the PDP reasoned that the inability the PW9 to produce a valid voter’s card means he is not even a registered voter and never voted at the said unit as claimed in his witness statement.

“My Lord, I put it to him that he is not a registered voter, that is why he did not attach his voter’s card to his witness statement”, Umoh said.
Udokpan who also told the tribunal that he did not witness the announcement of results in the 15 polling units of his ward, confessed that he based his witness statement on oral reports he received from polling unit agents via telephone.

The witness told the tribunal that from INEC exhibits presented to him, there are no records of accreditation but insisted that accreditation was done across units in his ward.

Earlier during cross examination of PW8, Ubokutom Nyah, an APC chieftain who claimed to have been ward agent of APC in Ekpenyong Ward 2, failed to explain why his name was not in the list of authentic ward agents whose names were presented by the APC to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“I was not privy to see the names submitted to INEC but I was given a ward agent tag,” Nyah had replied 

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On Exhibit P415, which was submitted to the tribunal by the witness as election results, Umoh told the tribunal that “the results were not a product of votes of the people in Ekpenyong Ward 2 because elections did not hold due to ballot snatching, thuggery and violence”.

Nyah, who argued with Umoh, that there was accreditation and election in all the units in his ward, however admitted that he only got the results from what he was told by the unit agents.

This was the same view of another witness Raphael Udoma who claimed he was shocked that the documents which included voter’s register and result sheets from INEC presented before him as exhibits were at variance with the ones actually used at the units in his ward during the National Assembly election.

“I chose to believe my informants who told me that there were elections in their units, I don’t believe the reports contained in the Exhibits from INEC that elections were cancelled. It is shocking”, Raphael Udoma exclaimed.

“Witness, it is shocking because your informants did not tell you the truth. My Lord, he chose to believe his informants who he only heard from, instead of those INEC certified documents he has seen with his eyes”, Counsel to PDP said of PW10.

As the ongoing fireworks at the election petition tribunal for between the incumbent Senator Chris Ekpenyong and the immediate past senator Godswill Akpabio continues, it has been revealed that all the witnesses presented at the tribunal by Akpabio so far, have based their submissions on hearsay, with no unit agent being presented as witness by the petitioner.

The tribunal adjourned sits again on Thursday, June 20 with the prosecution expected to submit its last set of witnesses.

Olumide Anifowose

A graduate of Anthropology, University of Cape Coast.

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