Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tribunal avoided the merits of APC case, Ekere tells A’Court

 Ikpaisong Reporters  November r 4, 2019.

The Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress in the 2019 governorship election, Obong Nsima Ekere has informed the members of the Appeal Panel sitting in the Court of Appeal, Calabar that the Akwa Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal members that dismissed his petition and that of his party, did so without going into the details and merits of the petitions.

Ekere, made the submission today through his lead counsel, S.J. Okutepa SAN in Calabar,Cross Rivers State capital at the Court of Appeal during the arguments on the ground of appeal filed by Obong Nsima Ekere and his party, All Progressives Congress.

Ekere's, lead lawyer told the Appeal Panel that "the trial Tribunal engaged in technical justice throughout the proceedings without examining the merits of the case and avalanche of exhibits before it."

According to him,Tribunal granted leave to the petitioners' to inspect electoral materials in the custody of 3rd respondent(INEC) and obtained copies therefrom. And that on 4/7/2019, the Trial ruled to allow Petitioners to use the Report of Inspection at trial which was admitted and marked as exhibit PTH86.

But In the course of the judgement, the Tribunal somersaulted and rejected the Report it made in the course of trial. Barr.J.S. Okutepa said Section 151 of Electoral Act permits admissibility of this type of document and that Tribunal sat on Appeal of its ruling by rejecting the document.

He further said that PW41 and PW 44 were subpoenaed witnesses who testified and tendered documents. Objection to disallow their testimony on account of non-filing of witnesses statement on oath was overruled. They testified and tendered documents.

Okutepa SAN said, the Tribunal turned around to jettison their evidence and discard their reports and that Tribunal once again sat on appeal on its case.

According to him, the action was a clear perversion of justice at the Tribunal.He urged the Learned Judges on the Appeal Panel to deliver judgment based on the documents tendered at the Tribunal for the interest of justice.

Gov. Udom Emmanuel through his lawyer Barr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN however asked the Appeal Panel to dismiss the appeal as the non ticking of the voters registers by the Petitioners' was an afterthought.

Counsel to Independent National Electoral Commission surprising asked the Appeal Panel to dismiss the Petitioners' appeal on the ground that it shall cost tax payers money to conduct another election in Akwa Ibom State.

After listening to presentations by all counsel,the Appeal Panel adjourned for judgment on a date to be communicated to all parties.-
Ikpa isong reporters.