Dr. Aniete Peter Akpan, the last witness for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at National and State Assembly Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa State capital, Tuesday, agreed under cross examination that Senator Godswilll Akpabio was shortchanged going by record of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with 29,556 votes.
Akpabio, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 national assembly election is challenging the declaration of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Chris Ekpenyong, as winner for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District.
Ekpenyong, the PDP, INEC, REC (Resident Electoral Commissioner) are the respondents.
At the resumed hearing Tuesday, for the second respondent, the PDP, to call its last witness, Dr. Akpan, who said he teaches Business Management and Statistics at the University of Uyo, when he was asked to deduct INEC’S figure from his own computation where he had given victory to the PDP, agreed that it was short of 29, 556 votes which ought to go to APC and Akpabio.
Uche Njoku, counsel to the first respondent, Ekpenyong had earlier led him to what he called “analysis of EC8A series”, forms which have all the results from the 115 wards in the senatorial district.
After analysing them and subtracting results from Essien Udim Local Government Area, where the petitioner comes from, and the respondents are contesting, Akpan had given victory to the PDP.
However, under cross examination by counsel to the petitioner, Sunday Ameh, Akpan was asked to subtract the same figure from that of INEC, and he said 29, 556 votes were removed from Akpabio’s votes.
Akpan said he never analysised forms EC8B where votes were transferred into EC8A. He said it didn’t take him up to a day to prepare the analysis.
When he was shown his witness statement, whether he ever stated that he was a participant in the election, he said he didn’t state it.
He said he came to testify for the PDP on invitation by the legal representatives of the second respondent, and not the tribunal.
However, on reexamination by counsel to PDP, he said he never knew why he was invited to the court and it was not at the instance of the PDP.
Earlier, Ameh had objected to him mounting the witness box through a subpoena when he is not an officer of any participant in the election.
And Ameh wondered why he was coming to testify, through a subpoena and at the tail end of trial, when he is a private person, more so, when the petition was filed on March 16 and still pending before he was enlisted to testify.
Ameh said, he would ‘vehemently’ oppose his invitation in his written address.
Before Akpan, Brendan Etokidem and Victor Oko had testified for the PDP
While Etokidem said he was a collation agent for the PDP at Idoro Ikot 2 ward, Oko said he was a presiding officer of INEC at Ukana West ward 2, unit 6.
Etokidem said materials were carted away by thugs at the local government collation centre, which made accreditation and voting impossible in the ward?
Oko said, he among others were abducted by thugs and made to thumb print ballot papers and fill results sheet until about 7pm that day.
After calling seven witnesses, PDP closed its case.
Proceedings were adjourned till Saturday, July 27 for INEC to open its defence.