AKWA IBOM ELECTION TRIBUNAL MOVES TO ABUJA

Amid allegations of threats to security, the Akwa Ibom Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal would, henceforth, relocate from Uyo, the state’s capital, to Abuja to continue its sittings.

The decision to move the tribunal followed Friday’s approval of an All Progressives Congress’ request by the President of the Court of Appeal of the request.

Following the April 11, 2015 elections, the APC had rejected the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, which proclaimed the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Udom Emmanuel, winner.

In its petition, the APC had alleged, among other things, that the election was marred by widespread electoral malpractices, disenfranchisement of its supporters and a declaration of votes for the PDP in virtual violation of INEC provisions that required that all votes cast be duly accredited.

Since the tribunal commenced sitting on the petition, the APC has continued to cry foul that both the INEC and PDP in the state have consistently frustrated their attempt to pursue justice.

A member of the party’s legal team, Victor Iyanam, had a fortnight ago accused the State Electoral Commissioner, Austin Okojie, of consistently refusing to cooperate with the APC to conduct forensic examination of materials and documents used in conducting the April 11 elections.

Mr. Iyanam said Mr. Okojie had deliberately made himself unavailable in his office since the tribunal granted the APC permission to examine the materials.

The electoral commissioner, however, denied the accusation, saying the only disagreement was whether to allow the party go straight to scan the documents, or sort out and count the documents before scanning.

But, another member of the APC legal team, Leo Ekpenyong, told PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja on Tuesday that it was clear the party has not been granted unfettered access to all the materials and documents required to prove its case.



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