Former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio on Thursday closed his case at the tribunal without testifying.
Akpabio is a respondent in a case brought before the tribunal by the All Progressives Candidate for Akwa Ibom North- west senatorial district, Chief Inebehe Okori.
Okori is challenging conduct of the election and declaration of the former governor, Godswill Akpabio was winner of the poll. At the sitting Thursday, Akpabio urged the tribunal to allow him end his defence with the testimony of his 19th witness.
He initially told the tribunal that he would call 1169 witnesses. Akpabio was said to have 450,000 votes, one of Nigeria’s highest result for a senatorial seat.
Earlier, the 2nd Respondent in the matter (INEC) told the court that they were not ready to start their defence.
The tribunal then asked the 3rd Respondent, PDP, to open its defense, Friday, September 18th, 2015.
Testifying before the tribunal Thursday, Emmanuel Udoh from Ikono told the court that he voted in the election and that the PDP being the most popular political party in the area since 1999 won. He claimed that he was at his polling unit till election result was announced and pasted.
Asked by counsel to the petitioner, Chief Assam Assam ,SAN, to tell the court the result as was announced he claimed he had no idea. He was given his polling unit card reader report to announce the total number of accredited voters. According to the document, failed accreditation was 170 while successful accreditation was 59 totalling 229 but the result as entered into the result sheet and announced was 476 as total number of accredited voters with PDP alone allocated 409 votes. During cross examination he told the tribunal that Monday Ukpabio was his PDP unit agent but when shown the result sheet he admitted no such name existed but only a signature. He contradicted himself again when asked if he knew Prof Ini Udoka. He admitted that he was the former member representing Ikono /Ini Federal constituency and that he massively defeated Hon Ikwo Inyang of the PDP.
Also testifying, Imekan Ben from Ukanafun said election held in his unit, Government Primary School, Ikot Oku Osung, Northern Ukanafun Ward 4. His ward result was shown him. No unit had any result but he told the tribunal he won’t be surprised that there was no results entered into Form EC8A because there was election.
On his part, Itoro Nicolas Essien from Obot Akara LGA said election held in his polling unit and he voted. He told the court he was the PDP party agent for Village Square Abiakpo Nkap Unit 5 but denied signing the result sheet. His unit result sheet was mutilated but he told the court he only saw a dash. The Card Reader report showed 95 successful accreditation and 40 failed accreditation totalling 135 but 480 was allocated to the PDP.
Another witness, Isreal Ebenezer Udo from Ukanafun told the tribunal he voted after being accredited. His polling unit, Village Square, Nyak Iba in Southern Ukanafun Ward 2 had 84 successful accreditation and 44 failed accreditation totalling 128 but he admitted that the result was inflated to 417 as total number of accredited voters and 410 as total votes cast with the PDP allocated 398 votes.
Similarly, Endurance Johnson from Ukanafun admitted he was accredited and voted in the election. He claimed the Card Reader at a point parked off totally resulting in three forms of accreditation; one by Card Reader, the second manually when the Card Reader fails and the third when the Card Reader parked off totally but his claim was punctured when Card Reader report showed successful accreditation of 146 and 168 failed accreditation totalling 314 which corresponds with the 314 written on the result sheet with no proof a card Reader parking off as he alleged. His testimony brought to an end Akpabio’s six day defence with 19 witnesses out of 1169 initially billed to testify. The 3rd Respondent is expected to open their defence on September 18,2015.