A mild drama ensued on Thursday at the National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, when People’s Democratic Party National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem was cautioned by the tribunal Chairman against gross misconduct and contempt of court.
The three-man panel led by Justice W. O. Akanbi, at the resumed sitting of the tribunal dismissed an application brought by Assam Assam (SAN) counsel to Hon. David Lawrence for extension of time to reply the petition filed by Hon. Charles Sunday Ebongho and the All Progressives Congress against the declaration of Hon. David Lawrence as the winner of Eket State Constituency in the just concluded elections.
Shortly after the tribunal gave its ruling and struck out the first respondent from being a party to the petition, Enoidem who did not announce his appearance at the tribunal confronted the panel that the ruling was inappropriate. Angered over the development, the tribunal Chairman ordered him to sit down as he does not have the power to speak over the matter. “Who are you?” The Chairman queried. “This Honourable tribunal does not recognise you”, he further added.
Counsel to the first respondent Assam Assam (SAN), thereafter intervened and apologised for the actions of the PDP National scribe. Apparently embarrassed by his conduct, Enoidem apologised to the tribunal.
Drama started again when the tribunal called on the second petition filed by Hon. Kufre Akpabio and the All Progressives Congress against Hon. Pat Ifon, Peoples Democratic Party and INEC as first, second and third respondents respectively, Enoidem announced that he was holding brief for counsel to 1st Respondent, Solomon Umoh (SAN).
Enoidem immediately claimed that the petitioners were not interested in prosecuting the case to the amazement of the panel and other parties. Chairman of the Panel fumed and called on counsel to the second and third respondents to speak about the case, which they answered in the affirmative that the petitioners were diligent in their prosecution of the matter.
The chairman then queried Enoidem, that he should have consulted with other parties since he is appearing for the first time. “This tribunal is embarrassed with your behaviour, you should have consulted with your learned colleagues before making such contemptuous claims. It is totally unacceptable”, the chairman added.
Enoidem again apologised for the second gaffe before the tribunal adjourned the matter for the next sitting.