…Petitioner Lied on Actual number of Voters
An alleged attempt by Mr. Umana Umana, Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress to mislead the tribunal over the Governorship elections in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area was Tuesday rebuffed.
While cross examining a PDP witness Solomon Umoh(SAN) Umana’s Counsel in the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Elections Tribunal tried to force the witness into accepting that the total number of accredited voters in the local government was lower than the total number of actual voters.
“I put it to you that the total number of those accredited to vote in your local government is lesser than the actual number of voters in that election,” Umoh fumed, while pretending to examine the governorship election result sheet as signed by Barr Okorie.
But Okorie, himself a lawyer would have none of the pranks and called for the result sheet, Exhibit DDDD6 also known as Form EC8C and showed the tribunal that Umana’s lawyer was lying, “My Lord, it is a lie, according to this result, total accredited voters are 45,922 and total votes cast is 45,465,” to which Solomon Umoh(SAN) put on a bewildered look.
Testifying under examination by counsel to 1st Respondent Paul Usoro(SAN), Barr Chris Okorie a former councilor and local government chairman in Etim Ekpo admitted to seeing a member of the APC a certain Mr.Charles Udoetuk (PW12) on the day of the election, but denied knowledge of his role for APC in that election.
Okorie disagreed with the earlier testimony of the said Charles Udoetuk, and insisted that elections took place and that he voted at his Polling Unit 004, and that PDP won in the area after confirming that he signed the collated results sheet DDDD6 along with the APC local government agent.
Under cross examination, Umana’s Counsel Solomon Umoh(SAN) attempted to refer the witness to another statement allegedly written by him, to which the witness does not admit not remembering, resorting in an objection by the PDP lead counsel Tayo Oyetibo(SAN) who pointed out to the tribunal that a document not admitted as evidence in the tribunal cannot be used to cross examine a witness.
“ Any witness statement not adopted cannot be used to cross examine a witness more so when this tribunal had earlier ruled severally on this matter that any statement on oath not adopted by a witness is not tenable in cross examination” Oyetibo submitted. A position which was adopted by Counsels to the Ist, 2nd and 3rdrespondents.
“This is very distinct from a situation where a witness statement of another witness is sighted for the purpose of cross examining another witness. And I don’t want to regret not asking him questions from that statement since he is right here in front of me,” Solomon Umoh argued fruitlessly for several minutes in a tone loud enough to bring down the walls of Jericho, forcing the court to adjourned for almost four hours.
Ruling on the matter, the three man panel of judges upheld the objection by PDP citing relevant provisions of the law that the position of the law is clear that a witness statement on oath not adopted is only an intention to give evidence and not an evidence in itself except when adopted.
The ruling was done in favour of the PDP, forcing some frustration on the face of the Petitioner Umana Umana and his supporters who had thronged the court venue, while the state PDP Chairman Paul Ekpo, clad in his white native attire, and native hat, was all smiles throughout the session.
Okorie also added that as both the LGA collation agent and ward agent for his ward at Obong ward 7 he witness a perfect distribution of election materials and collation of result, adding that although he knew Barr Emmanuel Enoidem his kinsman, he is unaware any other role he played on the day of the election.
He asserted energy on the fact that as a former local government chairman who joined PDP in 2002, he had a large followership and that no other party commands recognition in his locality.
Speaking to journalists after adjournment of Tuesday’s proceedings, the lead counsel to the PDP Mr Tayo Oyetibo(SAN) said so far his witnesses have maintained that there was election and that the pattern of election in the state since 1999 was always in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Also Speaking, Paul Usoro (SAN) counsel to the 1st defendant said they were determined to prove to the tribunal that there was a credible election in Akwa Ibom State, and the defense witnesses have been consistent in their testimonies that there was that people voted freely in the April 11 elections.
The petitioner Umana Umana of the All Progressives Congress through his counsels Solomon Umoh(SAN) and Dayo Akinlaja(SAN) want people to believe that no election took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015.