Joe Effiong, Uyo
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has attributed the woeful performance of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State at the polls and at the tribunal to the party’s ill-preparedness, scaremongering and buck-passing attitude
Two senatorial and ten House of Representatives as well as 26 state House of Assembly candidates of the APC failed at the polls, but filed petitions to challenge the triumphant PDP candidates. They equally failed to prove their cases and were consequently dismissed by the election petitions tribunal.
The last case to be dismissed was that of the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio which on Wednesday only managed to get a minority decision in his favour from the three-man tribunal while the majority dismissed the case for lack of proof thus confirming Senator Chris Ekpenyong as the duly elected candidate for Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district.
Reacting to the judgment in Uyo on Thursday, the PDP through its Publicity Secretary, Mr Ini Ememobong, said the APC, at the commencement of the tribunal, filed processes that were manifestly and incurably defective.
“How else can you describe people who protested the location of the tribunal before the tribunal was even constituted? Since then, they have been shouting to high heaven over non-existent issues. When the tribunal started, they filed processes that were manifestly and incurably defective.
“Now that the natural consequences of their actions have manifested, instead of taking a sincere introspection, they have decided to apply their stock in trade – pass the buck,” he said.
Taking specific instances, Ememobong said in the case against Pat Ifon of Eket federal constituency, the APC and their candidate filed the petition with a wrong heading of the court, and wrong name of the federal constituency.
“In Victor Antai’s case, the entire petition was fraught with unimaginable mistakes, which the petitioners and their counsel conceded. For example, the petitioner intermittently used Uyo and Oron federal constituencies in his petition, used grounds alien to the Electoral Act in seeking redress and sought contradictory reliefs.
“Additionally, they filed an affidavit where 23 paragraphs therein, contained vague, imprecise and nebulous claims of alleged errors occurring at polling units, without stating the exact polling units where these alleged errors happened.
“The petitioners in their characteristic untidy manner, brought witnesses who were either totally confused or were certified liars. Their PW3 stated that he did not vote and did not see when results were entered, but insisted that he knew there was manipulation – nothing more witless had ever been said since the creation of man.
“This is a clear case of non-compliance with Electoral Act and the inability to prove allegations of corrupt practices in line with Section 135 of the Evidence Act. How is the PDP or the tribunal responsible for fatal mistakes made by the lawyers of the APC?” the party queried
“In Godswill Akpabio’s case, the majority judgement of the tribunal is a soothing balm to the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district (North West) who massively rejected him at the polls. They ensured that he lost convincingly in eight LGAs, had a slim victory in one,” the PDP said.
The party further accused the APC of bringing to court witnesses who were either totally confused or certified liars. The party therefore urged the public to ignore the “illogical, baseless, senseless and slow-witted utterances made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Akwa Ibom State and treat them as their usual straw-clutching antics and the last kicks of a dying horse.”
The PDP then declared the judgements as confirmations of the sanctity of the ballot, maintaining that the tribunal must be commended for its integrity and resoluteness.