A former Commissioner for Commence and Industry, Toby Nkangudeh, in Akwa Ibom State told the tribunal on Thursday that the April governorship election was free and fair in Ikot Abasi area of the state, even though there was no accreditation. Nkangudeh was testifying as a defence witness in the Akwa Ibom governorship tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The All Progressive Candidate for the election, Umana Umana, had approached the tribunal challenging conduct of the polls and declaration of Udom Emmanuel as winner of the April polls. Following the closure of his case, Udom Emmanuel, the PDP, the REC and INEC, who make up the defendants, opened their case on Wednesday.
When confronted with the voters register of his polling unit marked as Exhibit 289A and 289G, Nkangudeh said though no single voter was ticked as having being accredited for the April 11, 2015 election, the election was generally peaceful. He denied invading the polling unit in three Hilux vehicle, shooting sporadically on election day and carting away election materials.
Asked of his occupation, he said he has been a trader for over two decades but added that he did not state the fact that he was a member of the State Executive Council in his deposition before the tribunal.
Also speaking during cross examination, the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Engr Etido Inyang, told the court that election was held in Ikot Ekpene and that restriction of movements on election was enforced by security agents. The ex-Special Adviser to former Governor Akpabio on Technical Matters said he and his wife trekked from his house to the polling unit, got accredited, voted and went back to the house to monitor progress through phone calls and radio broadcast.
He said no case of violence occurred in the senatorial district and that the police did their job effectively. When presented with police report of cases of murder, sporadic shooting, threat to life in Ini and Obot Akara LGA, he remained mute.
Also testifying, Ezekiel Jacob Obot from Oruk Anam said election was conducted in Oruk Anam LGA. He said Don Etiebet who had earlier testified as a witness for the petitioners that no election took place, was not in his polling unit on Election Day. He said he never saw Etiebet on Election Day at the polling unit. When he was told that by the prosecution that his polling unit, 006 where he claimed he voted had no voters register, the former councilor told the tribunal that himself and Etiebet do not have the same polling unit.
Also, Mr. Samuel Benjamin Bassey who said Bishop Samuel Akpan, an APC witness, was wrong when he testified that no election took place in Onna LGA, insisted that he voted at his polling unit 001 in Ward 3. He explained that his village had five polling units and that election took place in all the five units.
When told that there was no accreditation in his polling unit for the governorship election even though he was alleged to have voted for the National Assembly and Presidential election, he told the tribunal that he only voted according to the dictates of INEC officials on duty.
“There were many registers on the table, I don’t know which one was voters register but I voted”, he stated.
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Another witness, Friday Obot from Mkpat Enin LGA, insisted that election took place in his area and that the PDP had agents in all the 14 wards of the council. But when he was shown result sheets of the 14 wards that were allegedly signed by a former commissioner in the state, Barr Jerry Akpan, he was mute.
He was also silent when asked if Barr Akpan whose signature appeared as Ward agent was the only PDP Ward agent for the entire Local Government Area. All the witnesses tendered their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) before the tribunal and the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the PVC’s were accepted by the tribunal and marked as exhibits. The matter was adjourned to Friday, September 4, 2015.