The Returning Officer for Essien Udim in the 2019 National Assembly Elections, Dr. William Olosunde at the resumed sitting of the tribunal has dispelled the news purportedly credited to him, that the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini asked him to cancel votes scored by Senator Godswill Akpabio of the APC in the last national assembly elections, but the absence of results from the polling units caused the cancellation of Akpabio’s votes.
Dr Olosunde, while testifying on Monday at the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in
Uyo, in the petition by Emmanuel Akpan of the APC against the election of Nsikak Ekong of the PDP for the Ikot Ekpene House of Representatives seat, said he had no contact with the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini during the collation process of the February 23, 2019 election.
When his attention was drawn by Counsel to the PDP, Solomon Umoh(SAN),to a publication in The Sun Newspaper that he said Mike Igini instructed him to cancel Akpabio,s votes, the astonished lecturer quipped, “My lord, I never at any point, anywhere, to anybody and even at this
tribunal, said that Mike Igini asked me to cancel elections in some wards in Essien Udim.”
“If anybody quoted me as saying that Mike Igini directed me to cancel election in Essien Udim, such a person is lying,” Olosunde stated.
He said it was not until he entered the hall to announce his results that he saw Igini among the panel members on the table.
“I was told that my result was the one they were awaiting before going to Abuja, I entered and saw Mike Igini on the High Table, l announced my result and left. He never spoke or gave me instruction.” Under examination, the Returning Officer maintained that elections in Essien Udim were marred by over voting, absence of units’
results, thuggery and electoral violence.
The University Lecturer confirmed before the tribunal that from the total number of
accredited voters in the area during that election was 19,455 as captured by the smart card reader report Exhibit R153, while the petitioner Emmanuel Akpan is laying claims to 52,265 votes flaunted in Exhibit R 151.
He told the tribunal that following the absence of Units’ results to back the Ward results brought by Ward Collation Officers, Seven wards were canceled.
“Ikpe Annang was the first ward that we cancelled when Dr. David Edem came with the figures without any Polling Unit result, followed by Ukana West 1 and two others. I wrote it on the result sheet that the result could not stand since there were no units’ result to back the ward results brought for collation.”
On cross examination by S. I. Ameh SAN, Counsel to the Petitioner, Olosunde said, “It was the Electoral Officer who had drew my attention to the absence of Polling Unit’s results after I had started collation, and he took me to the Head of Operations on Monday 25/2/2019 not Mike Igini.
“It was the head of operations who communicated INEC Guidelines and Electoral Act to me,” he concluded.
Who is the Head of the INEC as a Commission? Ameh asked to which he replied, “Yakubu”
The returning officer said it was the same measure and smart card reader report for the presidential, senatorial and federal house elections.