Election Tribunal: Ekpenyong’s Witness Contradicts INEC on Cancelled Election, Leaves Gaping Holes in Testimony

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A staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Uduese Udoaka, who appeared for Chris Ekpenyong as the 7th witness, Thursday, left many gaping holes in his testimony at the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where Senator Godswill Akpabio is challenging the declaration of Ekpenyong as winner of Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Udoaka said he was abducted by armed thugs, who took him and the election materials to an unknown place where he was ordered to thumb print ballot papers and fill the result sheets in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Odoro Ikot 11 ward in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

He told the tribunal that 65 election officials were about to be dispersed to their various polling units when thugs riding in two jeeps appeared and started shooting, and that they made efforts to escape in a bus that brought them but were blocked by the thugs who whisked them to unknown place.

He said at the end he wrote a report in his capacity as INEC supervisor for the ward which led to the cancellatioon of results.

But under cross examination by counsel to the petitioner, Sunday Ameh, he said he was the only one whisked away but the bus went back to pick other INEC officials who he said earlier ran away.

When shown the result and asked if he filled the sheet, he said other people who were with him in captivity, did.

Told that INEC Election Officer signed the result sheet, he an aspirant of the APC had earlier boasted to him that other INEC officials were in his palm.Asked if he included the abduction saga in his resport to his superior, he said he did not.

Also asked if date and signature of the receiver were on his report sheet, he answered in the negative. He agreed that his report was not minuted on as in standard practice.

He said he did not report the kidnap to the police and was never called upon to make a statement neither was he ever questioned by any security agency. He said he only wrote a report to his office.

When he was made to read out paragraph 64 of INEC’s response to the petitioners’ petition, if Odoro Ikot 2 was listed among cancelled wards becausee of violence, he said it was not listed.

The tribunal adjourned to July 10 for the first respondent to present more witnesses

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