* Stop shouting in Court – Judge orders APC’s counsel
BY NDANTI EKUH
Today’s sitting at the Akwa Ibom 2015 Governorship election tribunal holding in Abuja might have been the worst outing so far for the All Progressive Congress in Akwa Ibom State as their counsel, Dayo Akinlaja could not controlled his anger owing to the frustration he suffered while cross-examining one of the PDP witnesses, Elder Ufot Tobby Nkangude, a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.
Our reporter observed that Akinlaja who stood in for Umana’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekan, SAN seemed to lack the required expertise to cross-examine the soft spoken Ikot Abasi-born politician who carefully tackled his questions words to words, to the disappointment of APC deputy governorship candidate Mr Ben Ukpong who was among few APC faithful at the tribunal room.
It could be recalled that one of the APC witnesses had while testifying in the tribunal accused Nkangude of storming his polling unit like thug with three hilux vehicles to hijack election materials during the April 11 Governorship election.
But Nkangude told the Tribunal that the witness’s testimony was a total falsehood wrapped with a shame of defeat and aimed at tarnishing his reputation before the tribunal and the general public.
While giving his testimony, Nkangude stated thus: “There was election in my unit and I participated in the election. That day, I went to the polling unit with my Toyota Prado Jeep; not white Hilux as claimed by APC. Getting to the venue, I witnessed the presence of heavy security men which wouldn’t have made it possible for anybody to even attempt to run away with election material. So, I joined the well-behaved queue which I met and then got myself accredited by the INEC officials.
After the accreditation, I went home and later returned at about 2:30pm to cast my vote. To the best of my knowledge, there was no iota of violence in my unit as well as my village through the Election Day. Moreover, the APC witness claimed that I came in like thugs but I am not a thug and I don’t even look like one. I have never in my life handled a gun before and above all, I don’t think the witness was referring to my unit because he did not mention the name of my unit.”
Nkangude’s testimony disappointedly provoked Umana’s lawyer as he took his time to steadily respond to each of the questions thrown at him by his examiner.
Out of disappointment and anger, the lawyer started shouting in the court room, lamenting that the witness failed to answer the questions as he (Akinlaja) wanted, a development which stirred the atmosphere in the tribunal.
Reacting, the Tribunal Judge, Justice Sadiq Umar frowned at Dayo’s action and immediately called him to order. The Judge further told Umana’s lawyer that he should be mindful that he is in the court and should conduct himself properly.
On Dayo’s request for more time to cross-examined Nkangude, the judge reminded him that when APC was testifying, the party’s legal team did not allow such time to be given to PDP.
The Judge, in words, said, “Dayo, you didn’t do equity when your witnesses were testifying and now you are asking for equity, it will not work.”
The Judge’s respond forced Umana’s lawyer to stop further cross-examination of Nkangude as he disappointingly gave up.