Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and now senator, Godswill Akpabio has applied to the state’s National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal to invite additional 1, 106 witnesses.
He had earlier told the Hon Justice Goddy Anunihu led tribunal sitting at Customary Court, Dutsen Alhaji, Abuja at the pre-trial stage of his intention to invite 63 witnesses.
This brings to 1, 169 the total number of witnesses the embattled Senate Minority Leader intends to bring before the three man panel to defend his election.
In a motion on notice filed by the former Governor, Akpabio whose declaration as winner of the March 28, 2015 Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district election is being challenged by Chief Inibehe Okori of the All Progressives Congress (APC) prayed the court to allow him invite these witnesses as a means to defending that he won the disputed election.
Chief Okori and the APC had in Petition number EPT/AK/NA/S/3/15, dragged Akpabio (1st Respondent), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (2nd Respondent) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) (3rd Respondent) before the tribunal praying the court that the 1st respondent was not qualified to contest the election on the ground that he was not nominated or sponsored by any political party to contest the March 28th, 2015 senatorial election. And that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
In the course of the trial, a total of 17 witnesses have appeared before the tribunal for the petitioners and gave evidence to the effect that the election that produced Akpabio was allegedly fraudulent.
Those who testified against the former Governor include the petitioners, Chief Inibehe Okori and the State Chairman of the APC, Dr. Amadu Attai, former Commissioners, former State Legislators, former Chairmen of the PDP, APC party agents and INEC officials.
The APC candidate is challenging Akpabio to explain how an election that allegedly had a total number of 205,519 accredited voters ended up producing a result of over 450,000 votes.