AKPABIO Vs EKPENYONG
WITNESS COUNTERS AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT CLAIM OF PEACEFUL ELECTION
There was a mild drama at the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital when a Respondent Witness 13, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel Chibuzo, the Director General of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Abuja, an accredited INEC observer who claimed that elections did not hold in Essien Udim due to non compliance and irregularities was asked to read the Nigeria Police Force Report on the Conduct of elections, in respect of Essien Udim Local Government Area.
Petitioner’s Counsel :RW13: “I wish to inform you that the National Assembly elections held on Saturday February 23, 2019 in Essien Udim, Akwa Ibom State. The elections were peaceful, free and fair…”
[Laughter in court]
Petitioner’s Counsel: “I wish to tender in evidence the original copy of the Nation Newspaper of Monday, June 24, 2019, the CTC of Pages 1 and 11 along with the payment of receipt in evidence.”
The Nation Newspaper of Monday, June 24, 2019 published a paid advertorial by the Akwa Ibom State Government and signed by Dr Ekuwem, Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom State, where in it declared that the conduct of the 2019 elections in the state was free, fair, peaceful and credible as compared to previous elections conducted in the state.
The newspaper publication was accepted as Exhibit P595 A.
The RW13 was also asked to read Paragraph 5 of Exhibit P595 A.
RW13: “During the recently concluded Presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections…the elections were adjudged peaceful, credible and free. A fact attested to by both local and foreign observers.
“The Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Kauji, in his report of the elections to the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Department of Operations, stated that the elections in the state were concluded under a very fair, credible and most peaceful atmosphere.”
Petitioner’s Counsel: “The Akwa Ibom State Government said elections were peaceful, free and fair. Observers both local and international said elections were peaceful, free and fair. The Police also attested to the fact that elections were peaceful, free and fair. It is only you that is saying to the contrary.”
[Laughter in court]
Petitioner’s Counsel: “INEC had engaged you as an observer, I want you to read what they stated in Paragraph 6 of 3rd to 5th Respondent Reply.”
RW13: “…the 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondent affirm that the 1st Respondent was validly elected and returned. The election was validly, fairly and transparently conducted. It is one of the most credible elections ever conducted in the history of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State since year 1999…”
Meanwhile, RW13 tactically omitted where the report stated, “the election was validly, fairly and transparently conducted.” He finally did after he was asked for the 3rd time.
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