From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Counsel to Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, who is a respondent in the Abia North rerun tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Mr Mike Onyeka, apparently dissatisfied with the performance of the first two witnesses they featured in yesterdays sitting, hurriedly asked the tribunal to adjourn after opening their defence.
Onyeka protested to the tribunal that the respondents did not have the documents of the petitioner and the tribunal proceedings, saying the non-availability of the exhibits had affected the presentation of their witnesses.
The respondents have six days to call witnesses. The third witness was about being called when Onyeka protested.
The first witness, Onyebuchi Luke Kanu, a PDP polling unit agent at Amankwu in Arochukwu Local Government area had told the tribunal, under cross-examination, that he neither tendered a letter of appointment as PDP agent nor any result before the tribunal.
He also denied there was any violence in the area during the election despite the charge sheet of those convicted for various electoral offences provided by the petitioner’s counsel, Kelvin Nwufo (SAN).The second witness, Chinyere Eke, PDP polling unit agent for Amankalu Akoli in Bende Local Government Area, could not differentiate the colour of the document he signed as party agent even as he claimed to be conversant with everything that happened during the election in the unit. He also said the result sheet shown to him by the respondent’s council for the unit was not the result of the rerun for the area.
As the next witness was about to be called, Onyeka told the tribunal that they needed the record of the tribunal and petitioners documents to enable them conduct their case properly and speedily.
Tribunal Chairman, Justice James Abundaga asked the clerk and the secretariat to explain why the materials were not ready for the respondents to which he said the photocopier broke down and has not been repaired.
Adjourning the sitting to today, the tribunal chairman apologised to the parties over failure of the secretariat to do the needful.
Former governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, is challenging the return of Senator Mao Ohuabunwa by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the Abia North rerun election of March 5, 2016.
Kalu concluded his defense with the presentation of over 23 witnesses last week.