The Justice Goddy Anunihu-led Akwa Ibom State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Customary Court, Dutsen Alhaji, Abuja, Monday received as exhibit the Card Reader Report used for the conduct of the March 28, 2015 Akwa Ibom North West senatorial election won by former Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Also tendered before the tribunal was a copy of the Approved Guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 General Election.
The documents, which were admitted without any objection from counsels to the first, second and third respondents and marked exhibit B19 and B20, were tendered by a staff from INEC’s ICT department who was subpoenaed by the tribunal.
The INEC staff explained that exhibit B19, being the Card Reader Report, originated from the data base of the data received from the Smart Card Reader devices used for the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial election.
She said the content of the report was the total number of accredited voters and the total number of failed accreditation which must tally with the total number of voters in the March 28 election.
Further, the witness said it was only when the fingerprint authentication failed that an incidence form could be issued and filled. Total number of failed accreditation must be reflected in the failed column section of the document, she added.
However, there was an attempt by counsel to the third respondent, J.O. Ogunjobi to stop the witness from clarifying the technical details of the document tendered.
Mr. Ogunjobi was overruled. He had objected that allowing the witness answer the question as posed to her by counsel to the petitioner, Assam Assam, would amount to the petitioner’s counsel cross examining the witness.
INEC counsel, S. N. Mbaezue, declined cross examining the subpoenaed INEC staff.
Also testifying against Mr. Akpabio was a former chairman of the PDP in Akwa Ibom, Sunny Ibanga, who told the tribunal that no election took place in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area and that no collation of results ever took place in the senatorial district.
Mr. Ibanga explained that the purported results as declared were fabricated.
“The results as declared by INEC are not a true reflection of what happened,” he said.
He explained that as a Senatorial district collation agent, his job was to supervise the collation of results emanating from the Polling Units, Wards and the ten Local Government Areas of the senatorial district but regretted that nothing of such ever happened, expressing “shock and disbelief on the votes allegedly declared for the respective political parties and their candidates that participated in the March 28, 2015 senatorial election.”
A total of 11 witnesses have so far testified against Mr. Akpabio. The case was adjourned to Wednesday, August 4, 2015 for continuation of trial.