Udom tenders “fake” list of INEC ad hoc staff.- Hurriedly applies for adjournment
Udom tenders “fake” list of INEC ad hoc staff.
– Hurriedly applies for adjournment
The Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital heard evidence from Mr. Ikpong Joseph Inyang, a Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) for Obot Akara Local Government Area.
Mr. Inyang testified as a subpoenaed witness for Governor Udom Emmanuel and tendered unsigned lists containing names of adhoc staff who purportedly participated in the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election in the area. The lists were admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits RS 27 and RS 28 respectively.
In his oral testimony, Mr. Inyang claimed he had knowledge of all that transpired on the day of the election and denied the authenticity of the video earlier tendered by the Petitioners through PW44 (William Nsikak Nkanta) and admitted in the course of the proceedings. Mr. Nkanta testified as PW44 and served as Presiding officer for Unit 005 in Ward 4 of Obot Akara Local Government Area. The said video which was beamed in open Court showed scenes of massive thumb printing of ballot papers and scripting of election results allegedly in the residence of Senator Chris Ekpenyong.
PW44 said he recorded the video secretly out of fear for his life with the use of his Android phone.
In a bid to contradict the evidence of PW44, Mr. Inyang said PW44 was not the designated Presiding Officer (PO) for Unit 005 in Ward 4, but rather a Youth Corp member by name Ifeyinwa Priscilla Ifeanyi as contained in his unsigned list.
Under cross-examination by Jibrin S. Okutepa, SAN, Mr. Inyang admitted that all adhoc and permanent staff of INEC deployed for the elections were administered with an Oath of neutrality to which they appended their signatures. He admitted that the signed Oath are in the custody of INEC – his employers. He was therefore asked: “Can you tell this honourable Tribunal whether Exhibits RS27 and RS28 purporting to be the list of adhoc staff deployed for the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Obot Akara and tendered by you is signed anywhere at all?”; “No, My Lord”, was all he managed to mutter. From his unsigned list, he read out the name of the PO whom he said signed the result sheet as Ifeanyi Ifeyinwa P.
Mr. Inyang was further confronted with Voters registers for the Local Government and asked if he would be surprised that the registers were not ticked at all in the required boxes provided to show accreditation. To the consternation of all, he stated that the use of voters’ registers was not mandatory so long as the Smart Card Readers (SCRs) were in use! Continuing, he said it was inconsequential if the number of accredited voters captured on the SCR is different from that indicated on the Voters’ register.
Obot Akara is the home of Senator Chris Ekpenyong, Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
The Petitioners have consistently maintained that the elections of March 9, 2019 in Akwa Ibom State were unpardonably flawed as they were characterized by massive rigging, vote-buying, violence and corrupt practices and therefore inconsistent with the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the Guidelines for the Elections as prescribed by INEC.
It is increasingly becoming clear that the votes purportedly credited to Governor Udom Emmanuel were clearly arbitrarily allocated without recourse to extant Electoral law, guidelines and regulations.
In the face of startling revelations from witnesses fielded so far, Counsel for Governor Udom Emmanuel abruptly called for an adjournment of proceedings before noon.