Sen. Godswill Apkabio

Akpabio, APC didn’t prepare for polls, tribunal, PDP says

NEWS DIGEST–The All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the elections and its petitions because of lack of adequate preparation in Akwa Ibom, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared.

In a marathon judgement handed down by Akanbi, the panel dismissed the petition filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the declaration of Ekpenyong by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the said election.

But Senator Akpabio through his Counsel, Mr Adekunle Oyesanya, SAN vowed to appeal the judgment, insisting that the minority ruling by Justice Hafizu represented the position of the law on the matter.

The APC on its part has declared the minority judgement, which declared Akpabio winner, a confirmation of the sanctity of the ballot, maintaining that the tribunal must be commended for their integrity and resoluteness.

The minority judgement had sparked wild jubilation among supporters of Senator Akpabio.

They praised Justice Hafizu for his courage and said it was gratifying to note that there were still Judges who dispensed justice without fear or favour.

But reacting to the judgement in a press conference with newsmen in Uyo on Thursday, the PDP which spoke through its Publicity Secretary, comrade Ini Ememobong, said the APC, at the commencement of the tribunal filed processes that were manifestly and incurably defective.

“How else can you describe people who protested the location of the Tribunal before the tribunal was even constituted?

“Since then, they have been shouting to high Heaven over non-existent issues. When the tribunal started, they filed processes that were manifestly and incurably defective.

“Now that the natural consequences of their actions have manifested, instead of taking a sincere introspection, they have decided to apply their stock in trade – pass the buck”

Taking specific instances, Ememobong said in the case against Pat Ifon, the APC and its candidate filed the petition with a wrong heading of the court and wrong name of the Federal Constituency.

“In Victor Antai’s case, the entire Petition was fraught with unimaginable mistakes, which the petitioners and their counsel conceded, for example the petitioner intermittently used Uyo and Oron federal Constituencies in his petition; used grounds alien to the Electoral Act in seeking redress and sought contradictory reliefs.

“Additionally, they filed an affidavit where 23 paragraphs therein, contained vague, imprecise and nebulous claims of alleged errors occurring at polling units, without stating the exact polling units where these alleged errors happened.

“The petitioners in their characteristic untidy manner, brought witnesses who were either totally confused or were certified liars.

“Their PW3 stated that he did not vote and did not see when results were entered but insisted that he knows there was manipulation- nothing more witless has ever been said since the creation of man.

“This is a clear case of non-compliance with Electoral Act and inability to prove allegations of corrupt practices in line with Section 135 of the Evidence Act. How is the PDP or the Tribunal responsible for fatal mistakes made by the lawyers of the APC?”

The party added: “In Godswill Akpabio’s case, the majority judgement of the tribunal is a soothing balm to the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district (North West) who massively rejected him at the polls.

“They ensured that he lost convincingly in eight LGAs, had a slim victory in one.

“He supervised a reign of terror and harassment against his people in Essien Udim but still could not get a result to fertilize his ill-fated return to the senate.”

The PDP further accused the APC of bringing to court witnesses who were either totally confused or certified liars.

It urged the general public to ignore the “illogical, baseless, senseless and slow-witted utterances made by the All Progressives Congress Akwa Ibom state and treat them as their usual straw-clutching antics and the last kicks of a dying horse.