By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Parties in the Governorship Election Tribunal petition filed by Senator Albert Bassey Akpan against the election of Umo Bassey Eno as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, have adopted their written addresses in readiness for judgment.
The three-man election panel, headed by Justice A. A. Adeleye is expected to deliver judgement on the matter soon, which centres on certificate forgery by Umo Eno which rendered him ineligible for the governorship election as well as malpractices during the election.
At a resumed hearing on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, counsels to the petitioners and respondents made their submissions to the Tribunal, citing relevant authorities to back up their arguments.
A counsel to the petitioner, Tunde Falola, expressed optimism on the possible outcome of the case, relying on the weighty grounds for the petition being forgery and electoral irregularities.
Falola told the tribunal that the Governorship candidate of the PDP for the 2023 Governorship election in Akwa Ibom was not qualified to contest as at the time of the election.
He said Eno submitted a forged WAEC certificate to the election umpire (INEC), evidenced in his form EC9, and presented to the Tribunal.
A subpoenaed witnessed from the West African Certificate Examination (WAEC), Adekanmbi Olaolu, on June 20, 2023, had appeared before the Tribunal to denounce the certificate purportedly submitted by the PDP candidate.
The witness told the tribunal that a candidate takes responsibility for infraction in his/her names. He however noted that the examination body presents a window for candidates to remedy or correct such infractions in order or spelling of names.
Corroborating the testimony of the subpoenaed witness, Falola told the Tribunal the 2nd respondent (Eno), did not present any document reconciling that he also bears Bassey Umo Eno, which appears in the June 1981 WAEC certificate, as against Eno Umo Bassey, which he submitted to the election umpire before the elections.
He said Eno did not front load a deed poll as provided for by the Supreme Court to reconcile his names.
Falola told the tribunal that the 2nd respondent, while responding to the petition, said he would be relying on Certified True Copies (CTC) of his 1981and 83 certificates obtained from WAEC, which he later abandoned while presenting witnesses.
On Eno’s expulsion from UNIUYO in 2005, counsel to the Petitioners submitted that the 2nd respondent could not produce J. S. Aborishade and Aniedi Abasi Udofia, who respectively signed the employment and promotion letters of Daniel Akpan, a subpoenaed witness and staff of the University of Uyo, who certified documents linked to the alleged expulsion of Eno.
Counsels to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Umo Bassey Eno and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), adopted their respective addresses, also. All parties to the case and entire Akwa Ibom populace await judgement which the panel was yet to announce the date