A/Ibom senate: 205,519 persons can’t cast 444,505 votes, lawyer tells tribunal
The Akwa Ibom National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday heard how 205,519 persons accredited cast 444,505 votes in the March 28, Akwa Ibom NorthWest senatorial district election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Inibehe Okori is challenging the declaration of former state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) as the winner of the election.
while adopting his final written address before the Justice Goddy Anunihuled tribunal, counsel to the petitioner, Chief Assam Assam, said: “I want to say that there is no thin line here. 205,519 persons cannot legitimately cast 444,505 votes. That is a whooping over-voting with the statutory consequence of nullification.”
He also said whenever a document was required by law to be reduced into writing, no other evidence, oral or otherwise of that transaction is admissible.
Chief Assam said “none of the parties to this petition urged the tribunal to discard the exhibit P19 (Card Reader report) as the primary process of accreditation.
“We have argued in our written address that the case of APC vs JK AGBAJE which is now reported, is not an authority for the much acclaimed statement that the use of the Card Reader is in conflict with the provisions of the Electoral Act. In the circumstance, where 444,505 votes are alleged to have been cast and the only means of credible and transparent accreditation shows that only 205,519 persons were accredited to vote by the Card Reader Machine and there is absolutely no record of where Card Readers did not work in that the failure of the card readers, if any, were not recorded in the “incident forms” to provide the basis for falling back on manual voting, your Lordships must hold that there was over voting in the constituency giving room for the nullification of the results and no more,” he said.
Earlier, counsel to Akpabio, Offiong Offiong (SAN) prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit. He submitted that the petitioners raised constitutional points by questioning the qualification of the 1st Respondent but the Electoral Act cannot be used to interpret the 1999 Constitution.