The Akwa Ibom North West Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo has concluded its pre-hearing session on petitions filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio, seeking to invalidate Engr. Christopher Ekpenyong as legitimate winner of the February 23 senatorial elections.
The session which afforded the tribunal opportunity to meet the parties with a view of setting up modalities to be adopted in the actual hearing of substantive issues in dispute, has ended today, as trial is set to commence on June 10, 2019, the adjourned date. Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Robert Egwono Emukpoeruo SAN, submitted to the tribunal Schedules of Electoral Forms and INEC Adhoc Staff. The tribunal was adjourned till May 31, for submission of Schedules of Electoral Forms and INEC Adhoc Staff Reports for Essien Udim, Ini, Abak and Obot Akara Local Government Areas.
On resumption of hearing, Barr. Emukpoeru who represented INEC sought the tribunal's consent to tender:
- Schedule of electoral forms and INEC adhoc staff reports for Essien Udim, Ini, Abak, and Obot Akara LGAs.
- Certified true copies of Form EC40G for Midim 2, Abak LGA.
- Certified true copies of Form EC40G(1) of INEC adhoc Staff reports for Abak, Etim Ekpo, Ika.
- Certified true copies of documents for collation at LGA level for Essien Udim.
- INEC EC8A (1), Polling unit results for four wards (1, 2, 8 and 9) in Essien Udim.
- Certified true copies of form EC8C (1) for Essien Udim LGA.
- Certified true copies of form EC8D (1) for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.
- Certification of compliance with section 84 of the evidence act with a smart card reader report and accreditation from polling units.
- Regulations of guidelines for conduct of the election.
- Schedule of polling units for ward 10 in Ini LGA as captured in EC40G.
- Schedule for forms EC8A(1), EC8B(1), EC8C(1) in Obot Akara LGA.
- Evidence of Certified true copies of forms EC8A(1), EC8B(1), EC8C(1) in Obot Akara LGA.
The tribunal granted consent and admitted the evidences as exhibits R216, R218, R219, R221, R222-R250, R251, R232, R253 and R253A, R254, R255, R339-348, R349. INEC adhoc Staff Reports for Abak, Ini, Essien Udim and Obot Akara LGAs were admitted and marked as exhibits R220A, R220B, R220C and R220D. The tribunal chairman, Justice W. O. Akanbi granted consent to INEC and admitted the evidences as exhibits. He also announced that the pre-hearing report would be presented on the adjourned date.
The tribunal adjourned to Monday, June 10, 2019 for commencement of the trial proper.