By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The seven-man Legal team of the senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district, Senator Godswill Akpabio yesterday resumed the process of inspection of election materials at the headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
It was gathered that the ongoing inspection process which resumed on Tuesday was stopped last Tuesday because of the Easter holidays.
Vanguard observed before 10 a.m yesterday, that the legal team of Senator Godswill Akpabio who contested for a re-election into the Senate seat on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC were already in the INEC Strong Room trying to sort out the materials stacked in heaps.
However, Barrister Ekom Nwoko, one of the lawyers representing the PDP at the Tribunal, said he was at the venue to observe the inspection being done by the petitioners being joined as a respondent in the matter.
Nwoko disclosed that the PDP and the first respondent, Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong of the PDP have filed a motion for the Tribunal to set aside some reliefs granted exparte at the Tribunal especially forensic examination of election materials.
Expressing the hope that some reliefs would be set aside, Nwoko added, “Our motion is premised on section 151 of the Electoral Act, and inspection of Electoral materials does not cover forensic examination. That is the premise of our motion. And likely, the motion will come up next week, but we have not got a date yet”
Speaking in an interview few hours later, the Public Affairs Officer of INEC, Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Don Etukudo, said the legal team was able to sort out the election materials for the ten local government areas , yesterday Tuesday
His words, “You have seen thar the inspection process is going on. The legal team of the APC started the process of inspection of the election materials when we took them to the Strong Room and they saw the materials.
“What the legal team has been to do today Tuesday is to bring out the election materials for all the ten local government areas. By tomorrow (Wednesday) they will be start actual inspection of the materials. They will start with Abak, Etim Ekpo and Ika local government areas”
Etukudo who noted that the team was able to sort out the election materials for the ten local government areas before deadline of 4:00pm, stressed that he had no doubt that the challenge of sorting the materials from the stacked heaps would be surmounted.
Asked when inspection of materials for other cases at the Tribunal would commence, Etukudo explain that the Tribunal asked the commission to make materials available to only Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district case that the Tribunal.
Senator Godswill Akpabio of the APC had few weeks ago approached the Election Petition Tribunal in the state to challenge the results of the February 23, 2019 elections which saw Dr. Christopher Ekpenyong, of the PDP winner.