WE DIDN’T ANNOUNCE 61329 VOTES FOR AKPABIO – INEC RETURNING OFFICER

WE NEVER ANNOUNCED 61,329 VOTES FOR AKPABIO IN ESSIEN UDIM – INEC RETURNING OFFICER

…CARPETS APC FOR PARADING IMPOSTOR BEFORE TRIBUNAL AS APC LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENT

The INEC Returning Officer for Essien Udim local government at the 2019 National Assembly Elections, Dr. William Olosunde, says the commission could not accept the alleged inflated local government result 61,329 votes by APC candidate Chief Godswill Akpabio, claiming they were not products of any electoral process.

He also confirmed that Mr Godwin Michael Afangideh who earlier presented the result before the tribunal as APC Local Government Agent for Essien Udim, was an impostor who had no dealings with INEC officials at the collation center throughout the National Assembly elections.

At the National  Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Uyo, Dr Olosunde explained that Dr. Ngozika A. Oleforo the Collation Officer for Ukana West 1 Ward and Prof. David Edem the Collation Officer for Ikpe Annang Ward brought  Ward results in Form EC8B without any Form EC8A, the unit results series to back the ward results.

He also said the February 23 elections were marred by inconsistency in the number of accredited voters and votes obtained, non- compliance with the electoral guidelines and invasion of collation center by thugs who beat up INEC officials, including himself.

The returning officer, who was confronted by Counsel to the Petitioner Sunday Ameh SAN, with allegations that he absconded,  said “My lord, I did not abscond. After the invasion by thugs, we resumed collation in line with INEC guidelines.

“It was the Electoral Officer (EO) who advised me that if we wanted to leave that collation center alive, I should suspend collation using Card Readers and escape from the center, and I informed others.”

Contrary to earlier claims before the tribunal, Dr Olosunde also posited that the name of the APC Local Government Collation agent that wrote his name on Exhibit P534 was Hon. (Dr.) Etido Udo.

The bewildered courtroom was informed that Mr Godwin Michael Afangideh, Petitioner’s Witness 14 who came before the tribunal under the guise of Local Government Collation Agent, was actually an impostor, as no such person represented the APC or signed any document for the party throughout the National Assembly elections exercise.

Dr Olosunde also countered Afangideh who earlier claimed he received results from 11 wards with duplicate copies of results that were issued to all agents at the collation center by the returning officer.

“I didn’t conclude collation and never announce results while at Essien Udim,  so I did not give the police or any party agent any such result,” he cried.

On being confronted by Ameh with Form EC8C(1), Essien Udim local government results which he allegedly collated using EC8B(1), Ward results, he said the result had no foundation.

“I asked Prof. David Edem, the first collation Officer that arrived to show me Form EC8A(1), which are unit results of his Ward Ikpe Annang, but he told me that he had no polling unit results and the figures representing each unit, where not backed by Form EC8A(1)

“The electoral officer told him that if he cannot present the unit results from where he obtained the figures on the ward result sheet, then he will have to follow us to the commission headquarters in Uyo to explain the source of the figures.”

He maintained that he marked on Form EC8C(1), which is the original result for Essien Udim that having not seen polling unit results for Ikpe Annang Ward and Ukana West 1, the figures written by the Ward officers could not be accepted.

This, he said, explained the outright cancellation of elections in the two wards.

Dr Olosunde  explained that where the number of votes exceed the total number of accredited voters, such result cannot be accepted.

In the examination of the witness which lasted for more than one hour, he confirmed that number of accredited voters for Essien Udim was 19,455 which is far less than the 61,329 votes claimed by APC alone.

Under examination by Robert Emukpueruo, Counsel to INEC,  the Witness confirmed that due to irrugularities, out of the 11 wards in Essien Udim, “7 wards were outrightly cancelled and affected units in the remaining 4 wards were also cancelled”

He further confirmed that, “it was the cancellation of those wards and some units that reduced the number of accredited voters to 9,964 as contained in Exhibit P534”.

“Form EC40G(1), that is Exhibits R352 and R352A are those documents I signed to formalize those cancellations, where votes outnumbered accreditation or were not backed up with accreditation at all in some wards”.

The University of Uyo lecturer stressed that contrary to police reports of peaceful elections in Exhibits P555 and P557, the Presidential/National Assemby elections in Essien Udim were marred by “violence, intimidation, molestation of INEC Adhoc Staff”

While being examined by Uche Njoku Counsel to Senator Chris Ekpenyong, Dr Olosunde stressed that he could not conclude collation of results that evening in Essien Udim, neither did he announce or issue any result to any party agent as well as the police, after his security was threatened.

He faulted alleged results contained in Police Reports, Exhibit P557 and depositions of the Petitioner’s witnesses as false in all ramifications, saying he never announced any result on February 24 eventhough the police report is dated February 24, 2019.

Njoku: “Did you give anybody, group of persons, party agent, the Police any copy of Form EC8C at the local government collation center?”

Williams: “No”

He also said that at Ikot Ekpene Collation Center, you excused yourself to take a phone call and absconded. Is that correct?” Njoku questioned.

“No. That is not correct. The allegations leveled against me are lies”, Olosunde answered.

He told the Tribunal that INEC as a Commission cancelled the purported results.

Replying Ameh, who asked if there was no provision for accreditation of voters in the event of smart card reader failure, witness said, “Whether the card reader authenticates the holder of the PVC or not, it would show on the card reader as success or failure.

“Both the figures for successful and failed authentication would be captured by the card reader to aggregate the number of accredited voters.

“Those the card reader failed to successfully authenticate can then proceed to thumbprint and write their phone numbers on the Voters Register, which is then ticked before the person is presented with ballot papers to vote,” he added.

Three other witnesses, including a female NYSC member, who were presiding officers at some units in Essien Udim, also alleged that they were abducted at gunpoint to unknown locations and made to thumbprint and write results in favour of APC in their respective units.

The tribunal adjourned to Tuesday, July 23 for continuation of hearing by the respondents.

https://www.thenewsfeed.ng/2019/07/22/we-did-not-announce-61329-votes-for-akpabio-in-essien-udim-inec-returning-officer/