A mild drama occurred at the Akwa Ibom National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday in Abuja when one of the witnesses of former governor Godswill Akpabio, Mr. Stanley Annah from Ikot Ekpene dramatically pretended to be blind when given the card reader report to state the total number of accredited voters for Ikot Ekpene .
Mr Annah who told the tribunal that elections held in all the polling units of the council suddenly pretended to be blind and mute when told to read out the total number of accredited voters for Ikot Ekpene on exhibit P19.
“I can’t see anything, I can’t read,” he said. When asked if truly he is a graduate of agriculture as he claimed, he said yes but still can’t read the figures in the document. He also claimed he had no idea of the number of polling units in Ikot Ekpene.
After minutes of vain attempt to evade the question, he reluctantly read out 22,761 as the total number of accredited voters for Ikot Ekpene. He had also earlier declared he can’t see nor read the total number of votes cast in the Local Government.
Before exiting the witness box, counsel to the 1st Respondent, Offiong Offiong SAN, asked the court to protect witnesses from vigorous cross examination from the petitioners counsel, Chief Assam Assam SAN. Responding the tribunal chairman said while the court cannot force a witness to answer a question ,there are legally bound to answer questions posed to them at cross examination while the tribunal will take note of witnesses who claim in their statement on oath that they are graduates but pretend they can’t read when inside the witness box.
Also testifying, Hon Uyoata Essien from Etim Ekpo said elections held in his area in a free and fair manner. He was given the card reader report of his unit which stood at 485 for polling unit Nkwot Ikot Eboh but when given the result sheet he signed as PDP agent, he admitted that though his signature is the one on the document, he can’t confirm if actually the 772 declared as total number of accredited voters was true or not.
Another witness, Obonoh Friday Frank from Oruk Anam said elections were free and fair. He was then shown the card reader accreditation to state the number of accredited voters in his unit. The card reader showed that successful accreditation was 147 while failed accreditation was 53 but a final result of 400 was declared with PDP scoring 398.
The last witness for the day was Francis Idungafa , a former PDP chairman from Ika. He admitted that in his polling unit, Primary School Nto Udo Enwan had the result mutilated and inflated. He told the tribunal that total number of accredited voters was cancelled from 530 to 650 while total valid votes cast was also cancelled and inflated from 402 to 648 even though the card reader report showed that the unit had 155 successful accreditation and 137 failed accreditation ,totalling 292 accredited voters. The petition was adjourned to Thursday, September 17,2015 for continuation of hearing.