Election Tribunal: APC, PDP Trade Blames Over Allegations of Evidence Tampering
Parties to the election petition filed at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal are accusing each other of tampering with exhibits before the tribunal. As a result tension has heightened between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic in the state as proceedings at the tribunal reach critical stage.
First to fire the salvo is the APC which at the weekend accused Governor Udom Emmanuel, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of attempts to tamper with exhibits and documented evidence.
In a statement signed by the state APC publicity secretary, Nkereuwem Eyongekere, the party claimed it has ‘credible intelligence and classified’ information that the PDP and other respondents were planning to tamper with exhibits and documented evidence in order to upturn justice in their favour.
The statement read, ”We have received credible intelligence and classified information that the PDP and other respondents in the ongoing Governorship Election petition trial are making desperate attempts to tamper with the avalanche of the exhibits and documented evidence tendered by our great Party, the APC, and its governorship Candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere at the Tribunal.
”The PDP and Gov. Udom Emmanuel, we understand, have been embarrassed and flummoxed by these exhibits which show clearly what we have been saying even before the elections: that the PDP and INEC were working together to perpetrate one of the worst electoral frauds in the state.
”Our evidence and the exhibits have shown clearly that there was no accreditation at most of the polling units during the Governorship Election. This is why INEC allowed PDP supporters to engage in multiple voting using unclaimed PVCs.
”It is therefore no surprise that given their proclivity for fraudulent practices, the respondents in the case may want to extend their stock in trade to the court premises.
”It was in anticipation of these nefarious and fraudulent tendencies on their part that necessitated our earlier call for the Tribunal to sit in Abuja. But our suggestion was vehemently opposed by the PDP. We now know why”.
The APC called on security agencies to monitor the activities of politicians and tribunal secretariat staff who may want to use underhand methods to pervert the ongoing election cases at the tribunal in favour of a certain political party.
”We call on security agencies to lookout for these unscrupulous politicians who have no restraints in executing any unconscionable action to achieve their evil purposes. The Tribunal Secretariat staffers are hereby warned not to be induced into criminal activities by the promise of huge financial payments, a familiar practice of the PDP. To be forewarned is to be forearmed”, the APC said in the statement.
In its reaction, the PDP in a statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong described the APC’s allegation as ‘endless flip flop and scare mongering’, adding that there was no iota of truth the allegation.
The PDP statement read, ‘There is absolutely no truth in the allegation that the PDP and other respondents are attempting to tamper with any evidence, whatsoever.
”The evidence tendered by the Petitioner has been duly marked and recorded by the court and therefore are now the property of the court, kept in safe custody.
”These documents, most of them being public documents, exist in several copies, with only the Certified True Copies lodged in the Tribunal and therefore cannot be tempered with.
”The nearest to what could have been called tampering with evidence, was done by the Petitioner’s Counsel, who was reprimanded in open court for demanding for and handling exhibits, when it was not yet time for that.
”We have noted with pity the consolatory ambience that the ‘avalanche’ of evidence gives the petitioners and We do not intend to destroy the placebo effect on them, but wish to subtly intimate the APC that one does not need an avalanche of evidence to win a case and the dumping of evidence on the Tribunal is not a mark of legal craftsmanship”.
The PDP called on the general public to discountenance the unfounded allegations by the APC, adding that ”our Legal team is peopled by very principled and credible Lawyers, who will not in any circumstance, descend to low levels of criminality.
”It is only the desperate that is capable of doing anything in pursuit of their ambition (including negotiating with militants to help in election rigging).
”As a party and Respondent in the Petition before the tribunal, we had undertaken and will continue to undertake to conduct our case in the best practice and tradition of the Bar and nothing will make us deviate from that promise,” the PDP said.