Governor Udom Emmanuel and his party, Peoples Democratic Party ended their defense today (Tuesday) at the Akwa Ibom Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the state capital, in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress challenging the re-election of Governor Udom Emmanuel. The Governor Defense team was led by the former Attorney General of the State, Asam Asam, SAN who appeared with Essien H. Andrew, SAN designate while the PDP team was led by Uko Essien Udom SAN, while the INEC team was led by Sylva Ogwemoh SAN. The defense team will adopt their final written address on the 10th of September when the case will be adjourned for judgement by the tribunal panel chairman, Justice A. M. Yakubu.
Four witnesses who testified on Monday at the tribunal, including, PDP local government collation agent for Ukanafun, Mr. Magnus Michael Akpan; PDP collation agent for Eket, Mr. Ekanem Willie; another collation agent of the party in Oron, Effiong Effiong Bassey; and a voter, Mr. Augustine Akpan Essien from Eket, all testified to the victory of the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
Contrary to claims by the APC in their petition, the PDP collation agent for Ukanafun, Mr. Magnus Akpan, said the election was free, fair and peaceful in Ukanafun, saying that, at the end of the exercise, the PDP candidate was declared winner by INEC.
“I witnessed the collation as a local government agent. The election was very peaceful, free and fair,” he said.
Reacting to proceedings at the tribunal, Counsel to the petitioners, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), while addressing newsmen, said so far, he was satisfied with the conducts at the tribunal, saying he was hopeful that justice would be done at the end.
“I am impressed with the outcome of proceedings,” Okutepa asserted.
Also reacting, Counsel to PDP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), told newsmen that he was satisfied with proceedings at the tribunal.
“The process went well. In a matter of this nature, you don’t have to call large witnesses when there is no need for it.
“The witnesses we’ve called today are sufficient for the purpose of meeting the case that was brought before the tribunal.
“So far, so good; if you’ve been witnessing what’s going on at the tribunal, you’ll see that so far, so good; everything is going well.
“We are looking at tomorrow (Tuesday, today) to come here and conclude out case. We will inform the tribunal on our decision, how far we’ve gone.”
The lawyer advised politicians not to see elections as a do-or-die-affair, and urged those who lose elections to learn to accept defeat and congratulate the winner.
He harped on the need for the political class to always imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship during and after elections, saying there is always another opportunity for a loser to try his luck in another election.