A/Ibom se­nate: 205,519 per­sons can’t cast 444,505 votes, lawyer tells tri­bunal

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye

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.

Ad­dress­ing

the

tri­bunal

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.

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