Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has commenced the defence of his victory at the Saturday, April 2015 governorship election held in the state at the elections tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Governor Emmanuel’s victory is being contested by the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Umana Okon Umana.
Four witnesses took the stand on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 to testify before Justices A. S. Umar, K. O. Dawodu and P. T. Kwahar of the Federal High Court.
National Mirror reports that the first witness, Imo Asuquo Okon, who is a medical scientist from Ikot Oku Ikono in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital availed to the tribunal that he had participated in the voting process, submitting his voter’s card as evidence.
Okon further revealed that elections in his ward was generally peaceful and went smoothly, save for three units in the ward where the APC Ward Chairman was said to have disrupted election proceedings.
The second witness, Maxwell Jeremiah, who is a retired permanent secretary from Uyo testified that he was not a card carrying member of any political party, stating that the election went on smoothly in his area.
Taking the stand next was a former Commissioner of Transport in the State, Godwin Ntukude, who recanted the testimonies of the previous witnesses, rebuffing claims by the APC that APC that Akwa Ibom State Transport Company (AKTC) vehicles were used to convey materials during the election.
The last witness of the day was one Isaiah Abia, an estate developer based in the state, who confirmed that accreditation and election in his unit and ward went on as scheduled, adding that the PDP had clearly won the elections in the area.
This comes a month after APC witnesses had testified that elections went on smoothly in most parts of the state as against the claims by their party.
It would be recalled that at the earlier sitting of the tribunal, an APC witness, Engineer Emmanuel Alfred surprised many of his party members when he testified that election actually took place in his ward.
When reminded by the PDP’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), that his testimony negated his sworn affidavit, Alfred stated that the affidavit was prepared by the APC lawyer, restating his earlier claims that elections were held, stressing that anyone who said there was no election was a liar.
Also corroborating Alfred’s position were other APC witnesses, including Nkereuwem Okpok of Ikot Asat Nsit of Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, Charles Uduoetuk from Etim Ekpo and Raphael Arakpan of Eastern Obolo local government area.