2019 Senate: Akpabio Watches As Witness Fumbles In Tribunal

On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Senator, who represented Akwa Ibom
north-west district in the 8th National Assembly, Godswill Akpabio,
watched appalled as Mr. Usen, one of his witnesses, admitted that there
was no accreditation in polling units in the ward where he was a
collation agent, Igbere TV reports.

The Senator who on Monday
for the first time since the National Assembly Petition Tribunal began
sitting appeared at the court was opportune to be briefed through the
prehearing report of the tribunal, which marked the end of the
prehearing session and commencement of trial.

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Mr. Usen, who
claimed to be a Chieftain of the ruling APC and 2019 elections ward
collating officer in Essien Udim Local Government Area, affirmed that
the box designed for accreditation of voters was not ticked on result
sheets shown to him by INEC, which means there was no accreditation in
seven polling units, leading to cancellation of elections in those
units.

On further prompting the witness responded that voters’
registers and card readers are tools for accreditation, and explained
that where the card reader fails, accreditation are usually done
manually.

The witness who was up to testify that INEC was not
justified in cancelling the results from the units, also told the
tribunal that card readers malfunctioned in various polling units in his
area.

Taking the floor, Barr. Emukporueo, representing the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and two other
officials of the Commission joined as respondents, asked if the witness
is aware that results of seven units were cancelled in his ward, but got
a negative reply.

Barr. Emukporoeu craved the indulgence of the
tribunal to put it to the witness, that the results which led to the
cancellation of seven polling units in his ward are completely
inconsistent and not a product of the voters’ registers which were
marked as exhibits R2, R4, R5, R7, R8, R11.

The Counsel to the
petitioner, Barr. Ameh’s made futile attempts to save his witness who
was apparently running out of explanations on how the exhibit, did not
indicate accreditation of voters.

Ameh argued before the tribunal
that the witness is not the maker of the documents and the function of
the voters’ registers are for the polling units, stressing that his
witness was a ward agent.

Barr. Emukporueo urged the tribunal to
overrule the objection of his colleague as the questions were reactions
to the words of the witness himself, who said that card readers
malfunctioned and accreditation was done manually, thus opening himself
to questions concerning the voters’ registers.

He referred the
tribunal to section 222 of the evidence act, and held that the witness
got questions within the confines of the evidence act, to test his
credibility and would be unfair to INEC to be stopped from asking their
questions.

He finally submitted that it is a life and critical
issue to ask if there was accreditation and election, adding that there
was no election because election is a process, which starts with
accreditation. He also held that materials were hijacked, while ad-hoc
staffs were kidnapped and abducted.

The tribunal, after listening
to arguments of all the parties, ruled that the witness should answer
the questions directed to him, as they are all in line with Section
295(2) of the evidence act.

The tribunal accordingly adjourned to Friday, June 14 , 2019.

Source:- Igberetvnews

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