…ANOTHER WITNESS CONFESSES HOW APC STOPPED HIM FROM VOTING
An APC witness Christopher Inang was ruffled when it was discovered that he was parading with another person’s voter’s card to assume a status of an eligible voter in the just concluded governorship elections.
Another APC witness Mr Blessed Asuquo Akpan had to explain that he could not vote for his candidate in the Governorship elections because his party posted him to another unit as agent.
At the resumption of hearing at the Governorship Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Blessed Akpan who cited the poor number of party members in his polling ward, said he actually registered as a voter at Usuk Ediene in Ikono Unit 3 but was posted to go and serve as party agent in Unit 4 by his party the APC.
The witness who claimed that hired thugs stopped non PDP members from voting in the unit, however seemed lost when cross examined on how the supporters of PDP were identified when they were not wearing party uniforms.
It was another case of uproar in the Court 8 building of the High Court Annex, when an APC chieftain Christopher Inang who claimed to be a unit agent in Mkpat Enin, presented a Personal Voter’s Card belonging to another person, Sunday Dickson.
The Tribunal rejected the Voter’s card as exhibit after the Counsel to INEC, Prince Nwafuru spotted the discrepancy in the identity of PVC and the name of the witness.
When presented for cross examination, Counsel to First Respondent, Assam Assam,SAN, brought another twist to the controversy by saying that the man in the witness box was Sunday Dickson and should not be accepted in place of Christopher Inang whose name appeared in the Evidence in Chief.
“My lord, the man standing there has identified himself with a valid means of identification as Sunday Dickson, I cannot start asking him questions from a witness statement deposed by Christopher Inang. Ask the petitioner’s counsel to present us with Christopher who actually wrote this statement”, Assam posited.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice A. W. Yakubu however told Chief Assam, that it is not the duty of the tribunal to tell the petitioner who to present as witness.
One of the witnesses, Mr Martins Obot Ikono from Mkpat Enin local government area, recorded in Paragraph Three of his witness statement that there was no coalition in his Unit Esa Ekpo 002 and the entire Ward 3.
Under cross examination by the INEC Counsel, Mr Ikono was asked whether he would be surprised to discover that the Petitioner, Mr Ekere has not challenged the outcome of the elections in Polling Unit 002 in Ward 3, to which he answered that he wouldn’t be surprised.
He further told the tribunal that supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) shared money at the election ground for people to vote for PDP, but during cross examination by counsel to the second respondent, Tayo Oyetibo SAN on if he knew the number of people who collected money and voted for PDP, he said no.
Ikono also denied knowledge of people in his unit who voted for PDP after allegedly collecting money at the polling center.
Earlier Mr Raymond Joseph Udoka, presented as PW1 could not explain why he never mentioned that he had lost his PVC after the election.
The witness who had claimed in Paragraph 7 of his Evidence in Chief that he saw a PDP agent altering the result from result sheets, however on cross examination by counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Dr Solomon, denied seeing any election result in the entire ward.
In his testimony, Mr Ekwere Akpan Umoh who claimed he was an APC agent in the election was completely embarrassed on cross examination when he was asked by counsel to the first respondent, Chief Assam Assam SAN to show the tribunal in his witness statement where he deposed to an affidavit that he was an APC agent.
The witness said he forgot to state in his witness statement that he was an APC agent.
Mr Umoh alleged in his witness statement that PDP thugs came to the election armed with dangerous weapons and bundles of PVCs numbering about 300, and that they threatened every APC member while using the cards to massively accumulate votes for PDP.
When asked by counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo SAN, to explained to the tribunal how he was able to overpower the thugs and verify that there were 300 PVCs, he said he only saw the volume and assumed it was about 300 PVCs.
The witness told the tribunal that there is only one voting point in his unit, Ikot Utiat in Oruk Anam and only 3 voting points in the entire ward, but counsel to INEC presented before the tribunal that there is actually 2 voting points in that polling unit.
Counsel to the Petitioner Jibrin Okutepa SAN presented 5 witnesses before the tribunal adjourned sitting to reconvene on Tuesday July 16, 2019.