Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which is the second respondent at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions, yesterday closed its defence abruptly after failing to call more witnesses at two previous sittings.
The PDP, which had listed 23 persons as witnesses, only called four.
The All Progressives Congress candidate for the election, Umana Umana had approached the tribunal to challenge conduct of the election and declaration of Udom Emmanuel as winner of the poll.
When the case came up yesterday, lawyer to the PDP, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo informed the tribunal that a representative of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State by name Obinna Ayogu, who had on Friday failed to produce one remaining bag of Incident Forms allegedly used during the election, was in court.
When called upon, Mr. Agogu told the tribunal that he later realised that the one remaining bag was for Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and not for Ini LGA as he had earlier said on September 10, 2015.
After him, counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo informed the tribunal that they have closed their defence.
A member of the three-man panel of judges hearing the petition reminded Mr. Oyetibo that the Incident Forms which the representative of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, brought to the tribunal, following a subpoena the PDP caused to be issued on the Akwa Ibom REC, was not before them because same had neither been tendered nor admitted.
Mr. Oyetibo agreed that the Incident Forms had not been admitted in evidence, submitting that they would decide on what to do with the Incident Forms subsequently.
On his part, counsel to INEC, Mr. Tobechukwu Nweke informed the tribunal that the commission would not be able to open its defence until yesterday, when the electoral officers who they intend to call as witnesses are available.
He stated that the EOs were on their way to Abuja.
He then applied that the case be adjourned to today.
Responding, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, counsel to Umana and the APC, said that although he was not opposing the application for adjournment, it had expected INEC to open their defence yesterday, since all the respondents were working together, which implied that counsel to INEC ought to have known beforehand that the PDP would not present more witnesses.
Mr. Dayo Akinlaja, SAN, a member of the petitioners’ team who later addressed the media, said it was interesting that the second respondents were only able to present just four witnesses in addition to the 19 witnesses earlier called by the 1st respondents.
This, according to him, means that the two respondents only called 23 witnesses in all as opposed to the 52 witnesses listed.
He expressed confidence that the truth about what took place in Akwa Ibom State on April 11, 2015, would prevail and that justice would be done at the end of the day.

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