Joe Effiong, Uyo
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rejig its outing at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal saying its current flip-flop and haphazard litigation processes will do it no good.
The state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Ini Ememobong, said this in a statement titled “APC’s Endless Flip Flop and Scare mongering,” released on Sunday, in response to a press release by the state APC alleging that PDP was making attempts to tamper with evidence and exhibits tendered at the tribunal by the APC challenging the re-election of Gov. Udom Emmanuel.
APC through Nkereuwem Enyongekere, its state publicity secretary, had said it had received credible intelligence and classified information that PDP and other respondents in the ongoing governorship, election petition trial were making desperate attempts to tamper with the avalanche of the exhibits and documented evidence it tendered at the tribunal.
“The PDP and Gov. Udom Emmanuel, we understand, have been embarrassed and flummoxed by these exhibits which show clearly what we have been saying even before the elections: that the PDP and INEC were working together to perpetrate one of the worst electoral frauds in the state,” APC said.
But the PDP said APC was telling lies in the allegation regarding PDP or any correspondents attempting to tamper with any evidence, whatsoever.
“The evidence tendered by the petitioner have been duly marked and recorded by the court and therefore are now the property of the court, kept in safe custody. These documents, most of them being public documents, exist in several copies, with only the Certified True Copies lodged in the tribunal and therefore cannot be tempered with.
“The nearest to what could have been called tampering with evidence, was done by the petitioner’s counsel, who was reprimanded in open court for demanding and handling exhibits, when it was not yet time for that.
“We have noted with pity the consolatory ambience that the ‘avalanche’ of evidence gives the petitioners and we do not intend to destroy the placebo effect on them, but wish to subtly intimate the APC that one does not need an avalanche of evidence to win a case and the dumping of evidence on the tribunal is not a mark of legal craftsmanship.
“Furthermore, it is the truth that while the petitioner’s legal team have sought for and changed their petition more than twice, the final amended copy filed on 17th of June 2019, our defence has been constant and unchanging, on what basis will we then attempt to tamper with evidence?
Is it not amazing that the same APC, through their governorship candidate cum ‘walking stick’ negotiator and their famed national comedian addressed a press conference immediately after the elections and claimed that they won in 26 local government areas and that they will head to the tribunal to reclaim their victory, by presenting results to show where and how they won?
“Most surprisingly, both in their petition and oral evidence no mention was made of their alleged victory in the 26 LGAs, rather they claimed that they won in only two LGAs (Etim Ekpo and Essien Udim). This flip flop nature exhibited habitually by the APC will do them no good at the end. If anything, it speaks to their stiff-necked resolve to continue to waste oxygen on a corpse.
“We wish to state that there is no credible intelligence to show that any of the parties in the petition (except the APC) has any intention to tamper with the evidence before the court. The only incontrovertible evidence which is already in the public domain is their morbid fear of the impending opprobrium which will concomitantly trail the judicial unveiling of the heap of serial prevarication undertaken by the APC before, during and after the elections.
The unclassified information available to Akwa Ibom is that the APC must learn to live with that painful reality. The tribunal has conducted its business, so far, under a very peaceful environment and there is nothing to warrant the relocation of the tribunal, except in pursuit of ignoble purposes.”
The PDP urged the public to discountenance the unfounded allegations by the APC, “as our Legal team is peopled by very principled and credible lawyers, who will not in any circumstance, descend to low levels of criminality.
“It is only the desperate that is capable of doing anything in pursuit of their ambition (including negotiating with militants to help in election rigging). As a party and respondent in the petition before the tribunal, we had undertaken and will continue to undertake to conduct our case in the best practice and tradition of the bar and nothing will make us deviate from that promise,” PDP said.