INEC STAFF’S CONTRADICTORY EVIDENCE BRIGHTENS AKPABIO’S CHANCES IN THE ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL.
By Ukeme Ibanga
Just like other Indepependent Electoral Commission (INEC), employees who have earlier on given evidence on being subpoena in favour of the 1st Respondent, Senator Chris Ekpeyong, one of his witnesses by name, Geraldine, took the witness box on Wednesday 10th of July, 2019, to give her evidence which is to the claims that election materials meant for Okon Ward 8, in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State were allegedly hijacked by the All Progressives Congress(APC), thugs and that Polling Officers of about 17 polling units were forced to write results in Exhibits P489 to P508 in favour of the APC.
Her further evidence was to the effect that only 3 out of the 20 poling unit results were products of accreditation, and they were results in units 12,14 and 20.
She stated during the cross examination by Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Solomon Umoh SAN, that her report about hijacking of materials by the alleged APC thugs to her superior officers led to the alleged cancellation of the 17 polling units results.
However, during cross examination by the legal team of Senator Godswill Akpabio, (Petitioner), led by S.I. Ameh SAN with Adekunle Oyesanya SAN, I.O Peters, M.O. Ubani, Patrick Umoh and Emmanuel Udosen, her story built on lies fell like a pack of cards.
When shown the results in exhibits P489 to P508, which she alleged were written by APC thugs in their favour but which showed that PDP had higher scores with big difference, she became dumb in the witness box.
When pressed further if she still maintained that the alleged APC thugs entered favourable figures in favour of the PDP instead of the APC, their party, she said that she stood by her position to the general laughter of everyone including the judges in the Tribunal.
Another of her lies were punctured when she was shown Exhibit R253 which was a document from the INEC and asked how many polling units were therein, she answered that the units were 19 units and when asked further, whether there were records of accreditation of voters she answered yes, but that accreditation with PVCs in the Smart Card Reader does not require the use of the thumb, at this point, the whole court roared in laughter.
Most importantly, was her admission during cross examination by Mr Sunday Ameh SAN, that everything she alleged in her report which was admitted as Exhibit R589 did not happen in her presence but as was narrated to her by the Polling Unit Officers.
When she was asked by the learned silk to read paragraph 64 of the Reply of the INEC to the Petitioner and see whether any unit in Okon Ward 8, was amongst the Units of Results allegedly cancelled by the INEC, her answer was that no Poling Unit in Okon Ward 8, was ever mentioned as cancelled by the INEC in their court process, and that again, earned laughter and smiles from the supporters of the Petitioner who were in court.
Just like other INEC staff, who had earlier given evidence, the alleged reports they wrote on the 23rd of February, 2019 to their superiors were neither acknowledged nor minuted upon by their superiors lending credence that these reports were written recently but backdated to remedy their gaffe for purportedly canceling results that were already declared at the units and certified true copies given out to parties which are before the Tribunal as exhibits.
And like the ones before her, the alleged crimes of ballot snatching, thuggery, violence, abduction and all sorts, were never reported to the police directly or by their employer because, according to them, there was no police presence throughout the time of the alleged crime.
It is important to report that the attempt by Senator Ekpeyong, the 1st Respondent through a so-called expert to discredit the video evidence of Senator Akpabio, that there was a peaceful election in his poling unit and Ward in Essien Udim Local Government Area, was turned down in an epic ruling of the Tribunal, which found the procedure strange and unacceptable.
The matter is further adjourned to this tomorrow by 3pm for the 1st Respondent to put in his last witnesses in his defense.