The team of forensic analysts hired by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to examine and scan materials used in the last governorship election has defaulted in the exercise prompting their request for extension of time, our Correspondent has gathered.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Barrister Tochukwu Nweke informed the Tribunal on Wednesday that the APC was not serious in carrying out the assignment and threatened that if the APC continued in such lackadaisical attitude the Commission would oppose their plea for further extension of time.
Counsel to Mr Umana Okon Umana, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Solomon Umoh SAN had informed the Tribunal that INEC had refused to allow them scan the Electoral materials and also failed to attend the inspection exercise during the public holidays.
He therefore prayed the Tribunal to grant them seven more days to conclude the inspection.
However, Lead Counsel to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, informed the Tribunal that the report that INEC had refused the Petitioners to scan was actually false and that the proper approach was for them to bring the application formally so that all parties would be put on notice.
He further stated that should the Tribunal be minded to grant the application for extension of time, it should only be for those days missed during the public holiday.
Lead Counsel to the PDP, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo SAN, aligned himself with the submissions of Mr Usoro and stated that it was the Petitioners who had not been diligent in carrying out the inspection exercise.
He further stated that an extension of time being an equitable remedy, required the Petitioners to come with clean hands.
Counsel to INEC, Tobechukwu Nweke, also aligned himself with the submissions of Lead Counsel to Governor Emmanuel. The Tribunal agreed with Mr Paul Usoro’s submissions but was minded to grant the Petitioners an extension of time for four days from , 23 July 2015 to Monday, 27 July 2015 to conclude the inspection exercise.
Briefing the media, Usoro, SAN said the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the PDP and INEC was not opposed to the APC examining the Electoral materials since they had nothing to hide as the election in Akwa Ibom State was free, fair and transparent. He however frowned at the attitude of the APC team in blaming their default on INEC and expressed satisfaction with the way the Tribunal has so far carried out the trial.
Uyo, A’Ibom State