Thursday, August 13

How Akpabio’s supporters hijacked election materials – APC candidate

The Akwa Ibom State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting at the Customary Court, Dutsen Alhaji, Abuja, on Thursday received testimony from the petitioner, Chief Inibehe Okori, who alleged that election materials meant for the senatorial election were hijacked by supporters of former Governor Godwill Akpabio.

Okori, who was the All Progressives Congress candidate in the senatorial election, is challenging the declaration of Chief Godswill Akpabio, of the Peoples Democratic Party, as winner of the election before the tribunal, led by Justice Goddy Anunihu.

The petitioner, during cross examination, told the tribunal that “in his presence, the entire election materials for his unit were hijacked by people suspected to be thugs loyal to the PDP candidate”.

He wondered how election results could be announced “from a process, where no ballot paper and other election materials were available to voters in the unit”.

When he was asked if the card reader was still supposed to be used in manual accreditation, Okori told the tribunal that the usage of the Permanent Voters Card and the card reader was to authenticate the ownership of the PVC as well as in fingerprint authentication.

He stated that only when the fingerprint authentication fails that the law allows the process to be reversed to manual accreditation.

He said when the authentication failed and incidence form was to be filled, it was the voter who should fill the incidence form.

The petitioner said as the APC senatorial candidate, he had agents for the election in all the polling units in the senatorial district and that they monitored the exercise for him.

Okori’s testimony brought to 17 the number of witnesses that had so far testified against Akpabio.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday, August 19, for the petitioners to conclude their case against the former governor, who is now a senator.

Akpabio will have nine days to present 63 witnesses in his defence.


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