… Rivers election was conducted in line with INEC Electoral Act – PDP witness
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Port Harcourt has on Thursday adjourned till September 30, 2019 for adoption of final written addresses in the election petition by African Action Congress, AAC and its governorship candidate, Awara Biokpoboma.
The three man tribunal led by Justice Kingsley Orjiako adjourned the sitting after the 2nd (Governor Nyesom Wike) and 3rd (Peoples Democratic Party) respondents in the matter closed their defences with cross examination of Amb Desmond Akawor, Director General of the 2019 PDP election campaign.
Counsel for Governor Wike, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) had introduced Amb Akawor as his star witness, owing that he was the PDP state collation agents during the 2019 polls, the platform where the 2nd respondent contested from.
Testifying in favour of the Governor, the witness (Akawor) told the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had already collated results from 17 LGAs with 6 LGAs yet to be collated before the collation process was suspended.
Akawor who presented a certified documents containing declared results and certificate of return to Governor Nyesom Wike, noted that election and collation and declaration of results were followed in line with Election Act.
He also presented photocopies of results gathered from polling units across LGAs.
The Governor’s witness while reacting to questions from Awara’s lawyer, Emenike Ebete and counsel for INEC, Godwin Obla (SAN), Akawor defended that INEC did not suspend election process but collation process at the INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt, adding that the election was not marred by violence.
He election and Deputy governorship candidate of AAC withdrew from the party gave a press statement
Akawor who was former Nigerian Ambassador of South Korea, noted that the Deputy governorship candidate of AAC withdrew from the party and race during the collation of result. He presented an affidavit and certificate by the former AAC deputy governorship candidate denouncing his membership of the party.
At the end of the cross examination, counsel for the 2nd respondent closed his defence.
Meanwhile, the 3rd respondent (PDP) counsel in the petition, Godwin Obla (SAN) who was supposed to open its defence told the tribunal that they will rely on already evidence tendered so far by parties.
Speaking with The AUTHORITY outside the courtroom, Emenike Ebete, counsel for Awara noted that the matter has been adjourned for final addresses.
He said “The 2nd respondent opened and closed its case today. PDP also told told court that they are not calling any evidence and will rely on the evidence already laid in the case. So as a result of that, the court had to adjourn for us to go back and write our written addressee, then come back on September 30 for the adoption of the final written addresses.
“In essence, trial has been concluded today in terms of presentation of evidence, what is remaining now is for us to go write our written addresses, come back here on the 30th, adopt them and they will adjourn or reserve a date for judgement”.
On his part, Eberechi Adiele (SAN) PDP counsel, said “We have concluded all evidence today. So what is now remaining is for us to file our addresses, that means that the case is coming to an end”.
Speaking also ,Livingstone Woyike, Counsel for INEC explained “Today, the tribunal has adjourned the matter for final written address, for parties to file their respective addresses.
“We have no doubt that the tribunal has graciously done well by affording parties opportunities to file their addresses and we have no doubt that they will do their best that at the end of the day parties involved in this matter will be given opportunities”.