Ekpenyong Outside The Box: Opens Defense Against Akpabio
…PDP, Zenith LG Agents Affirm INEC Results In Obot Akara, Indict APC Agent
Ekpenyong Outside The Box: Opens Defense Against Akpabio Two local government agents of two different political parties on Monday confirmed before the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo that the Senatorial results for Obot Akara Local Government Area was rightfully declared following due collation by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
DW1 Sylvester Inyang and DW2 Kufre Augustine, Local Government Collation agents for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) respectively said they were present throughout collation of results at the Local Government Collation Center and results were not cancelled.
“Was the result for Obot Akara cancelled,” Ifeoluwa Counsel to INEC asked?
“My Lord, the result was never cancelled” responded Augustine
“No, my Lord” – Inyang said
Recalling that Joshua Etiebiet the Local Government Collation agent of APC had alleged that Obot Akara’s result was mutilated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after collation, Kufre Augustine told the tribunal that the APC agent accepted the result after the errors were noted and corrected by INEC, and even hugged him thereafter.
Inyang and Augustine said the correction was not strange to them.
They explained that the INEC Officer mistakenly entered unit results instead of ward results, which he corrected before all agents signed including Tiebiet Joshua of APC.
“You talked about entry of unit results and correction to ward results, was it after all that was done that you signed the result with Tiebiet”? Umoh asked
“Yes” both witnesses affirmed separately.
Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, Solomon Umoh SAN questioned both witnesses on the claim of over voting by APC’s collation agent, Joshua.
“Tiebiet Joshua told the tribunal that he protested over issues of over voting which he noticed at the collation center”
“No, it is not true” – Inyang
“My Lord, that is not true. It is surprising to hear that he protested because he hugged and congratulated me. In his words, he even prayed that God should bless Mike Igini for conducting credible elections” Augustine said
On the report of over voting by the police report to the tribunal, Umoh asked the went further to ask the witness to “Please look at Exhibits R349 and R341 and read out the total number of registered voters and number of votes cast”
“Number of registered voters is 52,995 and number of votes cast are 20,032” Augustine replied.
“Total number of votes cast is aggregate of rejected and valid votes. Confirm that total number of votes cast is far less than total number of registered voters” Umoh
“My Lord, 20,032 is far less than 52,995. Valid votes is far less than registered voters” – Augustine
“The police came here and dropped a document which tends to suggest that there were incidence of over voting. Can that be correct? Umoh asked again to which Augustine replied in the negative.
Augustine however explained to the tribunal that his party, ZLP, had no Senatorial Candidate, which made them vote for the candidate adopted by their party.
Against objections by his colleagues, Counsel to the Petitioner, Sunday Ameh cross examined Augustine with Exhibits P568A and R341 from Essien Udim local government area. “We reserve our objections” – INEC “We have been reserving our objections but this one is different. This witness said he was a Local Government collation agent for Obot Akara. My Lord, this document shown to the witness by my learned colleague Ameh is for Essien Udim and Afaha. We would prefer if this document is tendered from the bar so that the witness would not be bound by a document that is not related to him,” Umoh objected.
Augustine intimated the tribunal after cross examination by Ameh, that he is from Obot Akara and not a registered voter of Essien Udim. He added that he did not sign Exhibit R341 used to examine him.
Disappointed, Ameh attempted to dig into the personal profile of the Augustine, but was called to order by the tribunal.
“You are lecturer 1 in the Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology and you are paid from the purse of the state Government”
“Why are you asking him that kind of question? It is not necessary” the Tribunal Chairman roared.The tribunal adjourned to Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
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