The Akwa Ibom state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will be licking their wounds at the moment as their witnesses in the state’s election petition tribunal, had a bad day yesterday during the tribunal’s proceedings.
The witnesses committed unpardonable mistakes that are capable of swaying the tribunal to dismiss the case. According to Akwa Ibom based Ibommobile.com, the APC witnesses were all singing a uniformed tune, which is insisting that there was no election in Akwa Ibom State.
The APC witnesses during their cross-examination by the lead counsels of the PDP governorship candidate, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), practically fumbled in their submissions.
One of the witness, Engr Emmanuel Alfred, stunned his party members and lawyers when he contradicted the party’s position by insisting that election actually took place.
When reminded by the PDP’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo SAN, that his position contradicted his sworn affidavit, Alfred revealed that the affidavit was prepared by the APC lawyer, maintaining his position that there was election. He also said anyone who said there was no election was a liar.
Another APC witness, Mr Nkereuwem Okpok of Ikot Asat Nsit of Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, corroborated Alfred’s submission when he said INEC had distributed some materials on the day before the election and that he had participated and voted in the election. He mentioned some wards in the Local Government Area which he said election had taken place.
In a similar vein, Charles Udoetuk from Etim Ekpo, another agent for the APC, said he was at the local government collation centre from morning till night, and that his claims in his affidavit that there was no election was based on hearsay and reports from the APC ward agents.
Another witness, Raphael Arakpan of Eastern Obolo local government area who along with other witnesses earlier claimed there were widespread violence during the election, reversed his statement, by saying he never personally witnessed the violence but was based on the report of others.
The tribunal which is sitting in Abuja, because of security reasons, was full to the brim. The APC governorship candidate, Umana Umana, was there too as he was visibly angry over the submissions of his party’s witnesses.
Meanwhile, the APC has accused the former governor of the state, who is now a senator, Godswill Akpabio, of bribing the INEC resident commissioner in the state, Austin Okojie.