Tribunal: Umana gets nod to present more witnesses

Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja, Thursday, granted leave to Umana Okon Umana of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to tender additional witnesses and documents to support the petition challenging the April 11 governorship election.

Justice Sadiq Umar ruled that the application has merit and dismissed the objection of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The tribunal held that the application is for maintenance and sustenance of the petition pursuant to its earlier order and that the petitioners did not violate any provision of the law by the application as against the contentions of the respondents.

The tribunal also allowed the petitioner’s team to present bundle of INEC documents (which were compiled from the joint inspection that was previously carried out by all parties) by counsel to the petitioners, Chief Wole Olanipekun.

The defence had earlier objected to it, saying it does not form the record of the court. Counsel to the APC, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) had argued that the petitioner needed to submit additional witnesses, tender more result sheets and ballot papers to support the petition based on the leave earlier granted by the tribunal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant access for inspection, scanning and forensic analysis of the election materials.

Meanwhile, Umana on Thursday submitted before the tribunal copies of his Permanent Voters Card (PVC), seven compact discs containing videos of the election, and a certified true copy of a letter by Mrs Augusta Ogakwu, secretary of the INEC.

Other documents tendered by Umana, while testifying before the tribunal includes: petition by the APC dated April 2, 2015; another petition dated March 17, 2015 by A Okwong chambers to the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and a petition dated April 4, 2015 to the Inspector General of Police. The petitioners also sought to play a video clip but the PDP counsel asked that a copy of the video be made available to them to go through it before it would be played. The case has been adjourned to Friday for continuation of trial.

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