A Ibom N West Tussle: Ekpenyong’s Witnesses, Nwabu, Other Contradict Selves

One Dr. Gabriel Nwabu, Director General of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizen Awareness, who testified for Chris Ekpenyong in the ongoing National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa State, was Tuesday caught in the web of his lies.

He had told the tribunal that there was no accreditation or election in the five polling units he visited during the presidential and national assembly elections on February 23, 2019.

He said intimidation, threat and outright assault were meted out to him and his team by party thugs at collation centre for Essien Udim Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom North West. And had written a report to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to that effect.

He claimed that no election took place in the polling units in the local government he visited but cluster of people who were discussing in groups.

He was led in evidence by Uche Njoku, the first respondent’s (Ekpenyong) counsel.

Senator Godswill Akpabio, the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, is challenging the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ekpenyong as winner of the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District election.

However, when cross examined by S. Ameh, counsel to Akpabio, Nwabu changed gear when asked to point out where he mentioned in his report of the units he visited.

He said he made a general statement of about 11 units as against earlier 4 to 5 he mentioned.

When asked to mention some of the units, he said he can’t remember.

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Questioned on why he would write a report dated March 15 but received by INEC on April 16, he has no explanation to that.

Again, in his letter of accreditation as election observer, which was admitted in evidence, he was supposed to turn in report before April 5, but was submitted on April 16. He said he was not to blame, rather the postponement of the election.

When shown newspaper advertisement by Akwa Ibom state government which thanked the people of the state for a free and fair election, and INEC report which also declared the election in the state as one of the best ever conducted, he said he was not the maker of the documents.

When asked if he would be surprised to watch himself in a video recording performing his work as an observer on election day in those polling units he said there was no election. He replied , ‘No, he won’t be surpised’ but has to be subjected to forensic analysis.

When asked if the card reader was a means of accreditation, he said it was a means to only authenticate ownership of the permanent voter card (PVC) and not accreditation.

The last witnesses for the first respondent, Bassey Ufot, said he is with Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) but served as Supervising Presiding Office for Ikpe Anang Ward collation centre.

He claimed that election materials, both sensitive and non sensitive, were carted away and he was kidnapped by hoodlums.

When told to identify the report he wrote by the respondent’s counsel, he retorted “I wrote two reports but I’m seeing three here”

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In a damage control, INEC counsel, Ifeoluwa Ojediran asked why the two reports. He said when he was freed from the grips of the hoodlums, he was taken to INEC office where he wrote the first but later in the night he was made to write another when they could not lay hand on the first but unable to explain why the two were in court as exhibits.

When shown election materials used for voting that day and asked if they were original, he said he would not know.

The first respondent formally closed his case after 14 witnesses.

The tribunal adjourned till Saturday, July 20, for the second respondent, the PDP to open its case.

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