… Akpabio contradicts his 65,000 votes claim during cross-examination
A ‘compressed video’ shown as evidence at the election petitions tribunal fails to show that the former senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was accredited to vote at his polling unit during the 2019 presidential and national assembly election.
The video which was shown via a projector by Senator Akpabio’s media aide, Anietie Ekong, at the tribunal was intended to prove that Akpabio voted at his polling unit (unit 9) Independence High School, Ukana West, voted during the election.
Akpabio had told the tribunal that he, his wife and family members voted during the election.
But the video did not show where Akpabio nor his wife was accredited. It did not also show where election results was declared at the polling unit.
Ekong, Akpabio’s aide and bearer of the video said he recorded the video by himself during the election.
During cross-examination, Barr. U. Njoku counsel to the first respondent, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, asked Ekong if he was a voter or was accredited to be at the polling unit where he made the recording.
Njoku, “You are not a registered voter at the Petitioner’s polling unit. Do you agree? ”
Ekong, “Yes, My Lord.”
Njoku, “I suggest to you that you are a registered voter in Ward 13, Oruk Anam.”
Ekong, “Yes, my Lord”.
Njoku, “You were not on any official duty by INEC on election day? ”
Ekong, “I was, Senator Akpabio’s unit attracted unusual number of journalists, media houses like the NTA etc were there.”
Ekong also admitted that the video presented in evidence to the tribunal was edited.
Njoku, “It was not the entire livestream you made on facebook that you copied into this video. Do you agree?
Njoku, “This means the video has been edited. Do you agree?”
Ekong, “Yes, My Lord.”
Senator Akpabio who was also cross-examined on Tuesday, 25th June, struggled helplessly to prove that he voted during the election.
Counsel to the PDP, Solomon Umoh (SAN) put it to Akpabio that he did not vote during the election.
“Witness, is that your picture on on page 18 of 162 in exhibit R170?”
Umoh, “Beside your name, there is no thumbprint, phone number or ticked column.”
Akpabio, “What you are saying is correct but this is not the voters register that was used on election day. I am a victim. It’s very painful that someone would collect money and talk anyhow.”
Umoh, “My Lord, I demand an apology for that statement” – Umoh
Akpabio, “My Lord, if I have said anything to annoy him, I apologize.”
Umoh, “I put it to you that you did not vote and there was no accreditation in your unit.”
Akpabio, “My Lord, the way he is putting it to me….. ”
“Don’t bother about how he put it to you, just answer his question”, Tribunal Chairman.
Akpabio had approached the election petitions tribunal challenging the result of the 2019 election for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
He claimed in an affidavit deposed at the Federal High Court Abuja, that he scored 65,000 votes in Essien Udim Local Government Area in the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district election.
The former senate minority leader had further claimed in his statement of oath cited by the defense counsel, Solomon Umoh (SAN), that results were given to party agents and security agents.
However, under cross-examination Akpabio said he scored 61,329 votes and that the results were with the party.
“Results went to the party. I had 61,329 votes”, he said.
However, counsel to the PDP, Solomon Umoh (SAN), told the tribunal that Akpabio’s claim before the tribunal was inconsistent with his deposition at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and can not be substantiated.
“When you went to FCT court in Abuja , you secured an order with an affidavit on oath. You told them you scored 65,000 votes and 60,000 was taken from you.”
Akpabio pleaded that a lawyer swore to the affidavit.
“My Lord, a lawyer swore to this affidavit. If I said 65,000 and later got to hear 61,000 plus, I’m not far away. I rely on what INEC has”.
The tribunal adjourned to Monday, June 1, for continuation of cross-examination.