A’Ibom guber tribunal rejects INEC’S objection on destroyed ballot papers


FILE PHOTO: INEC officials with ballot papersPhoto: Idowu Ogunleye
The Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja on Wednesday September 16, 2015 overruled an objection by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the state of the ballot papers which were allegedly used during the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.
Counsel to the petitioners, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN had asked the defence witness number 26, Mr. Dominic Okenna, who was the Electoral Officer for Onna Local Government Area, under cross examination whether he had kept the ballot papers for Onna safe and secured after the election as prescribed in exhibit 338 paragraph 1.1.2, which is the Manual for Election Officials, and he said yes.
Umoh then asked him to identify the ballot papers used for Onna local government from among the rest since the ballot papers used for the entire state was in court. Feeling uncomfortable with the question, counsel to INEC Mr. Alex Ejesieme objected to the question.
He contended that the petitioners did not plead the state of the ballot papers in their petition and that by the Practice Direction, it was wrong for the petitioners to seek to cross examine the witness on the issue as that will amount to taking the respondents by surprise.
He further contended that if the petitioners wanted the witness to produce the ballot papers in court they should have served him with a notice to produce same.
In their contribution, Paul Usoro (SAN) who is the counsel to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who is the 1st and Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) who is counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party who is the second respondent, respectively, said they had no objection to the question on the state of the ballot papers and declined to support INEC’s objection.
Responding, …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper