June 6, 2023

A’Ibom Governorship: Tribunal begins hearing as petitioners call 5 witnesses

Akwa Ibom

Tribunal adjourns hearing till June 7

By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo

THE governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, has began hearing in the petition the Young Progressive Party, YPP and its candidate Senator Bassey Akpan challenging the declaration of Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as duly elected governor of Akwa Ibom State by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The three-member panel headed by Honourable Justice Adekunle Adeleye had at the conclusion of the pre-hearing session on Saturday May 27th adjourned the matter till June 6th and 7th for hearing.

The parties had during the Pre-hearing session identified and agreed on the issues for determination.

Also all the Respondent Counsels namely Offiong Offiong(SAN) representing the Independent National Electoral Commissíon,(INEC), Paul Usoro (SAN) lead Counsel to second Respondent Governor Umo Eno, and Nnamonso Ekanem, lead Counsel to third Respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),had in their preliminary objections asked the Tribunal to strike out the issue forged WAEC certificate in the petitions.

The Respondents Counsels had submitted that the issue as regards to the purported forged certificate had already been litigated right from the High Court up to the Supreme Court.

But Counsel to the YPP and its candidate had
prayed the Tribunal to dismiss the Respondents preliminary objections because the provision of the constitution they are relying on doesn’t help their case.

During the commencement of hearing on the YPP and its candidate matter yesterday, the Petitioners called 5 Witnesses.

They include first Petitioners witness, Pastor Hon. Hogan Ben Inyang(Pw1), Sunday Ibuot (Pw2), Nkereuwem Dickson Akpabio,(Pw3) Asuquo Effiong Odiong (Pw4) and Ndifreke Edem Udoh(Pw5)

All the 5 witnesses called by the petitioners Counsel Ahmed Raji, (SAN) adopted their their statements as evidence in the matter and, also tendered their Secondary School certificates issued by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) before the Tribunal.

During cross-examination all the witnesses told the Tribunal that they never worked at WAEC before, and also that they did not play any role in the issuance of their Certificates.

The Tribunal adjourned the matter till Wednesday (today) June 7th, for continuation of hearing.