Akwa Ibom state’s election tribunal sitting in Abuja has overruled a motion by the Akwa Ibom State governor, Emmanuel Udom opposing the tendering of documents used for the April 11, 2015 governorship election as exhibits.
The Akwa Ibom governor had in his motion, opposed the tendering of the documents as exhibits by Umana Okon Umana of the APC.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sadiq Umar, ruled that it was natural and in the interest of justice to allow the materials to be tendered and admitted.
Umana, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate who was defeated in the last election had taken Udom to the tribunal challenging his victory. Umana is praying the tribunal to nullify the election.
The documents admitted as exhibits are ballot papers, result sheets and the voters’ registers used by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for the election.
Umar in his ruling, dismissed the objection raised against the admission of the documents by the defendants, adding that the documents were pleaded.
The tribunal Chairman said that by calling more witnesses, mainly forensic experts who analyzed election materials, the petitioner had not amended his petition. Umar said that the petitioner did not also introduce anything new, having indicated to do so in the petition.
He agreed with counsel to the petitioner, Wole Olanipekun, a senior advocate of Nigeria, that tendering and admitting the election materials as exhibits, were crucial to the petitioner in order to maintain and sustain the petition.
The Chairman said that having granted an order to inspect, scan and photocopy the materials, it was natural for the documents to be admitted in line with the spirit of the order of the tribunal.