Some agents of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State have admitted signing multiple result sheets while testifying before the state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday.
One of the agents, Nicholas Andy, who served as the PDP agent in Ibiono-Ibom Local Government Area, admitted that no agent of any political party, including that of the PDP signed the result sheets in three of the 11 wards of the local government.
The agents were testifying for Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP whose election as governor is being challenged before the tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate in the poll, Mr. Umana Umana.
Andy, while testifying on Monday denied the petitioners’ allegation that election only took place in two out of the 161 polling units in Ibiono-Ibom Local Government Area; and admitted serving as the PDP agent for the local government and for Ikot Ikpo Ward 6 during the election.
When the petitioners’ lawyer, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN), confronted him with the list of the agents for the wards in the local government, he admitted them as being the list of approved agents but his name was not on the list.
He also confirmed, when confronted with the result sheets, that no political agent including that of the PDP signed the result sheets of three out of the 11 wards in the local government. Also, one of the PDP’s agents, Emmanuel Mbong, admitted signing the result sheet on behalf of the PDP at Eket Urban Ward 1 and Eket Urban Ward 3 as well for Eket Local Government Area.
Mbong said though he was the agent approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the PDP in Eket Local Government Area and Eket Urban Ward 1, he had to sign for the PDP in Eket Urban Ward 3, because the agent approved for that ward needed to rush his wife to the hospital. “The agent for Ward 3, Chief Ekpe Ubong Udoh, called me on the phone when I was at the local government collation centre that he was indisposed because his wife was stooling and vomiting, so he had to rush her to the hospital,” Mbong said.
Also testifying, Obong Titus, who said the collation of results took place in all the polling units and wards of Etinan Local Government, confirmed that the PDP had agents in all the 11 wards in the local government.
But he confirmed that the result sheets of wards 1, 5 and 8 of Etinan LGA marked as Exhibit DDD 1, 5 and 8 were signed by, Mr. Ibanga Udofia, when the petitioners’ counsel, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) confronted him with documents.
Governor Emmanuel, represented by Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), has so far called 19 witnesses.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)