Tag: Senator Akpabio

Tribunal: Drama as INEC document confirms Akpabio won convincingly

Tribunal: Drama as INEC document confirms Akpabio won convincingly.

There was a mild drama at the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Akwa Ibom State when Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN tried unsuccessfully to prevent a witness, Mr Godwin Afangideh from reading the result from a document presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC.)

The document was an exhibit presented by INEC in a petition filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the declaration of Engr Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP) as the Senator for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.

Reading from the document given to him by Counsel to PDP, the Witness, Mr Afangide said “My Lord even from this document APC scored a total votes 61,329 and PDP scored 9,050 in Essien Udim Local Government Area and it is recorded here.” Mr Umoh, SAN had attempted to shout down the Witness from reading that part of the document.

Mr Afangide had earlier tendered results collated from Wards across the Local Government Area as given to him by the party agents which clearly showed that Senator Akpabio had won the election in his own Local Government Area with a wide margin.

The Witness expressed surprise at the voters’ register tendered in court and said it was different from the one that was used on election day. He confirmed that he had voted along with his family members.

According to Mr Afangide the elections in Essien Udim Local Government Area were very peaceful as attested to by security agencies, local and foreign observers.

Another Witness, Dr Chris Akpan who was a Ward Collation Agent told the Tribunal that the results that were declared by INEC in Uyo did not reflect collated results from the Units and Wards of the Local Government Area.

Reacting to suggestions by the Counsel to INEC that results from the Local Government Area of Senator Akpabio were cancelled because of violence, the Witnesses expressed surprise and said they were hearing of violence for the first time in the Tribunal.

Senator Akpabio had so far called 14 Witnesses mostly Ward Agents who have tendered duly collated results. Results so far tendered showed he had led his opponent with a wide margin before INEC cancelled the results in Uyo.

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ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL OKAYS AKPABIO’S FORENSIC INSPECTION OF ELECTION MATERIALS

AKPABIO V EKPENYONG:

STOP CRYING WOLF, TRIBUNAL TELLS EKPENYONG, PDP

**** Warns against technicalities to waste tribunal’s time

**** Motion to stop inspection of materials dismissed

**** As Akpabio Wins Round One.

The National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, slammed the Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr Chris Ekpenyong and the Party over an attempt to cause the Tribunal to reverse itself.

The Tribunal had on April 2, 2019 granted an exparte order to Senator Godswill Akpabio and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for inspection of materials in the custody of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

PDP had sought a counter order of the Tribunal to bar the APC and Senator Godswill Akpabio from inspecting electoral materials used in the February 23, 2019 Senatorial elections in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.

Counsel to the PDP, Mr Solomon Umoh, SAN had prayed “the Tribunal to dismiss Akpabio’s petition in its entirety” as well as “set aside the petitioner’s request for inspection and forensic analysis of election materials.”

However, in his ruling Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice W. O. Akanbi, declared that the PDP’s application for the inspection order to be reverse was an act alien to law.

Justice Akanbi agreed with Sunday I. Ameh, SAN, Counsel to Senator Akpabio that Engr Ekpenyong and the PDP suffered no prejudice having been invited to be part of the inspection process.

He said the PDP Counsel only succeded in “hell-raising technicalities to waste the time of the Tribunal.”

Justice Akanbi said Senator Akpabio’s demand for inspection of electoral materials and the tribunal order granting same were in line with the provisions of Section 151 sub-sections 1 and 2 of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal chairman, while dismissing PDP’s argument that the exparte order for the inspection does not align with the provisions of the Electoral Act, noted that any order from a court of competent jurisdiction in relation to the inspection is valid because the Electoral Act does not specify which order should accommodated or rejected.

The tribunal also declared that PDP’s motion for an order to stop forensic analysis of the election materials was lacking in merit because any party in court is at liberty to any of its preferred method of inspection.

According to the Tribunal, “any party is at liberty to adopt any method of inspection. The parties involved in an election can chose to bring in forensic experts. The inspection can also be manually done. Even if the inspection is done with laboratory equipment, the law is okay with that”, he noted.

The Tribunal Chairman likened the PDP’s action to “crying wolf where there is none.”

Speaking to newsmen after the ruling, Barr. Patrick Umoh, who stood in for the petitioner’s lead counsel, Mr. Sunday Ameh, SAN, said the ruling had deepened judicial practice.

According to Mr Patrick Umoh, “the application was filed by the 2nd Respondent seeking to vacate the order of the Honourable Tribunal that granted us access to inspect the electoral materials at INEC.

“We responded, and at the end of the day, the ruling came in our favour, which is to the effect that the order of court to inspect the materials was correct in law. There is no way the 2nd Respondent has been prejudiced, as such the tribunal order was good in Law.

“We salute the judicial system. The ruling is good for the Nigerian legal system. We now know the position of the Law that with an exparte order you can inspect electoral materials as well as maintain your petition in court,” he said.

The ruling is seen as a major boost for Senator Akpabio to reclaim his mandate in an election which he is believed to have won. The tribunal adjourned further sitting to Friday, May 10, 2019.

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SENATOR AKPABIO FIRES SHOT AT EKPENYONG IN ELECTION TRIBUNAL

Akpabio vs. Ekpenyong: Legal fireworks begin at the tribunal

**** Akpabio has a good case and we are confident of getting justice – SAN

*** PDP Lawyers file application to stop court ordered inspection of electoral materials at INEC

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – At the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, legal fireworks commenced in a suit filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio against Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong and four other respondents.

Senator Akpabio, who currently represents Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District, contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Akpabio is challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019 National Assembly elections by which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner.

The suit has Senator Akpabio as petitioner while Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), INEC, Returning Officer and Resident Electoral Officer, Mr. Mike Igini, are respondents.

Present at the tribunal to represent the petitioner, Senator Akpabio, was Mr. Sunday Ameh, SAN, Mr Adekunle Oyesanya, SAN Also present were Mr Kanu Agabi, SAN for Engr Ekpenyong, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN for the PDP and Ms. Oluwaseun Oluseyi for INEC.

Legal fireworks ensued during the pre-hearing of two applications earlier filed by Mr Agabi, SAN, and adopted by counsels to other respondents. The applications sought to dismiss Akpabio’s petition and set aside the order granted him for inspection of election materials kept by INEC. Agabi also prayed the tribunal to set aside the petition on grounds of lack of jurisdiction.

Counsel to the PDP, Solomon Umoh, SAN prayed the tribunal to “set aside the petitioner’s request for forensic analysis of election materials” as well as “dismiss all reliefs granted to the petitioner.” because the inspection process of the election materials has been prejudiced” and that the “only grounds of obtaining an order must be by motion on notice”, which, according to him, the respondents failed to file.

Umoh also prayed the tribunal to award a cost of N500,000 against the petitioner, but was unanimously overruled by the three-member panel.

Responding to Umoh,, counsel to the petitioner, Mr Ameh, SAN slammed the respondent applicants’’ claim that the inspection process of the election materials has been prejudiced. ” “Having been invited to the inspection, in what way has the order of inspection granted been prejudiced?”, he queried.

While noting that the respondents’ “objections are bereft of merit”, Ameh prayed the tribunal to grant an order to stay execution, to enable his team study the all the respondents’ applications.

Chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice W. O. Akanbi, who spoke on behalf of the three member panel of judges, urged counsels to all parties and their supporters to fully cooperate with the tribunal in order to ensure that justice is expeditiously served. Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, on behalf of counsels representing all parties at the tribunal, thanked the judges and pledged the cooperation of the Bar with the panel all through the duration of the tribunal.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Akanbi adjourned the hearing and reserved ruling on the prayers of respective parties for a yet to be announced date.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the sitting, Counsel to Senator Akpabio, Mr Oyesanya, SAN said his client had a good case having won the Senatorial election and they were confident that justice would be served at the Tribunal.

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