Team of forensic analysts hired by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to examine and scan materials used in the last governorship election, have defaulted in the exercise, prompting their request for extension of time.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Barrister Tochukwu Nweke informed the Tribunal, on Wednesday, that the APC was not serious in carrying out the assignment and threatened that, if the APC continued in such a lackadaisical attitude, the Commission would oppose their plea for further extension of time.
Counsel to Mr Umana Okon Umana, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Solomon Umoh SAN informed the Tribunal that INEC had refused to allow them scan the Electoral materials and also failed to attend the inspection exercise during the public holidays.
He therefore, prayed the Tribunal to grant them seven more days to conclude the inspection.
However, lead counsel to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, informed the Tribunal that the report INEC had refused the Petitioners to scan was actually false and the proper approach was for them to bring the application formally, so that all parties would be put on notice.
He further stated that, should the Tribunal grant the application for extension of time, it should only be for those days missed during the public holiday.
Lead Counsel to the PDP, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo SAN, aligned himself with the submissions of Mr Usoro and stated that it was the Petitioners who had not been diligent in carrying out the inspection exercise.
He further said that an extension of time, being an equitable remedy, required the Petitioners to come with clean hands.
Counsel to INEC also aligned himself with the submissions of lead counsel to Governor Emmanuel. The Tribunal agreed with Mr Usoro’s submissions but minded to grant the Petitioners an extension of time for four days from 23 July to Monday, 27 July to conclude the inspection exercise.
Briefing the media, Usoro SAN said the governor of Akwa Ibom State, the PDP and INEC were not opposed to the APC examining the electoral materials, since they had nothing to hide as the election in the state was free, fair and transparent. He however, frowned at the attitude of the APC team in blaming their default on INEC and expressed satisfaction with the way the Tribunal had, so far, carried out the trial.

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