Don’t waste your time, tribunal won’t relocate – Judge warns APC
… Urges Petitioner to tame his witnesses
By Kpebo Thomas
The Chairman of the 2019 Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo the Akwa Ibom state capital, Justice A. M. Yakubu has called on those writing petitions to the President of the Court of Appeal seeking the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja to stop wasting their energy on something that would not be possible, but should rather concentrate on the case before the tribunal.
Justice Yakubu also warned the All Progressives Congress APC and its governorship candidate, Mr Nsima Ekere to educate their witnesses on the way they should behave in court as the court would not tolerate the irresponsible attitude of witnesses any more.
Speaking during the today’s sitting in Uyo, the tribunal Chairman assured all parties in the ongoing post election litigation that the tribunal will not be moved to anywhere as there was no threat to the business of the tribunal in Akwa Ibom State.
The Judge expressed optimism that the peace they have enjoyed in the state will be sustained.
The warning on APC to tame its witnesses however came after the counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Uko Udom SAN, drew the attention of the tribunal to the unruly behaviour of some of the witnesses who were called to testify before the tribunal.
Addressing Counsel to the petitioner, Prof Ernest Ojukwu SAN, the tribunal chairman said, “Prof, I hope you know that the tribunal is taking note about the way your witnesses behave in court.
“The attitude of witness in this tribunal also matters.
“As much as the tribunal will not decide on who you should bring to testify, I think it is important that you educate your witnesses on how they should conduct themselves before the tribunal because all these things count”.
The bitterness and anger in the voice of the APC witnesses who rather than answering questions during cross examination reportedly threw back questions at the Defense counsel, with some even raising their voices in the process.
This development was observed when Mr Emmanuel Udobong Bassey from Nung Oku Eberetu in Ibesikpo Asutan local government who claimed to be an actor and a polling agent in his unit was cross examined.
Mr Bassey who didn’t have a voter’s card said the reason he didn’t vote in the election was that the election was not balance because a PDP supporter slapped him and that made the election imbalanced.
He kept avoiding questions by giving unrelated narrations to the frustration of the tribunal.
Another witness who was unable to explain any of the allegations contained in his witness statement at the tribunal was Mr Uso Edem Etukudo of No 22 Atabong Road, Usung Inyang in Eket local government.
While being cross examined by Counsel to the first Respondent, Chief Assam Assam SAN, he could not establish the identity on the said voter’s card he alleged to have seen in a PDP member’s hand during the election.
Before the election of 9th March was there election previously in that unit? Assam asked him;
Many times my Lord”, he replied.
Has APC ever won election in your Unit 001, Urban 3?” Assam probed further.
“I don’t know my lord”, was his reply.
Chief Assam also referred the witness to his statement alleging vote buying by one Samuel Nwaetuk on behalf of PDP to influence voters in favour of PDP, and asked if the incident was reported to the police, to which he replied that he did not.
On his allegation that a lady impersonated her mother in the unit, Uso Etukudo admitted on cross examination that he does not know the said voter’s mother, does not know her name and had never met her before.