Abia Election Tribunal: INEC Witness Contradicts Self over Obingwa Result as Electoral Body Closes Defence

Spread the love

13 / 100

The Abia State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia the State capital continued its hearing on Wednesday, 23rd August, 2023, continued its hearing of the petition brought by Chief Ambrose Okechukwu Ahiwe challenging the declaration of Mr Alex Otti as winner of the March 18 2023 governorship election in Abia State.

The electoral body, INEC, opened and closed its defence by calling only one witness (DW1), Mr Nkemjika Kelechi Okere who served as INEC’s Electoral Officer for Obingwa LGA.

He adopted his written deposition and relied on same as his evidence, conceding that exhibit P188 before the court was the authentic result sheet for Obingwa LGA.

However, in a sudden twist and in the same breath, he denied that the same exhibit P188 (Obingwa LGA result) was ever rejected, taken to INEC headquarters in Abuja and declared after three days by the State Returning Officer, Prof Nnenna Otti.

Chief Okey Ahiwe,PDP Governorship Candidate
Chief Okey Ahiwe,PDP Governorship Candidate

Under cross-examination by the Petitioner’s counsel, Mr Nkemjika Kelechi Okere was reminded that Professor Nnenna Otti brought a result from Abuja which was not signed by any party agent and declared same as Obingwa LGA result after three days. The witness however said it was not true. At that point, there was a loud murmuring in the court because the counsel’s submission is a known fact not only to Abians but also to Nigerians as a whole and those present in court found it strange that an INEC official would attempt to deny that fact.

Pressed further under cross examination, the Witness later agreed that political parties observe collation and are allowed to sign result sheet but that the result sheet for Obingwa LGA was not signed by an agent of any political party including that of the Labour Party.

When shown exhibit P38, Mr Okere acknowledged that it bore signature marks of agents of more than 6 political parties. He also agreed he was not a polling unit Collation Officer and could not have been physically present in all the polling units but merely relied on information he obtained from collation officers of the 312 polling units of Obingwa LGA.

The witness further agreed in his deposition that collation could not hold in Nadiakata/Amairinabua Ward 9 of Obingwa LGA because of the violence that broke out there but that upon return of the State Returning Officer from Abuja, votes were surprisingly alloted for same Ward 9 where voting could not take place because of violence. He was shown the exhibit and he confirmed to the court that ward 9 was mysteriously allotted votes on the result sheet (P188). He eventually affirmed that he was not the INEC collation officer for Obingwa LGA.

In closing his defence Mr. J. C. Nnodim SAN, announced that INEC would no longer call any witnesses from the 5 earlier scheduled to be called.

The tribunal adjourned to Thursday, 24th August, 2023, for Mr Alex Otti to open his defence.

About The Author

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.