The lead counsel of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Solomon Umoh, had a raw deal at the sitting of the Election Petitions Tribunal in Akwa Ibom State on Thursday last week .
A witness, while testifying in the petition filed by Senator Godswill Akpabio, to challenge the declaration of Senator Chris Ekpenyong winner of the Akwa Ibom North West election, had told the tribunal that the All Progressives Congress scored 61,329 while the PDP polled 9, 050. But the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the PDP candidate winner. The police had released a bit by bit account of what transpired in each Local Government Area on election day.
Lead counsel to the first respondent, Kanu Agabi SAN, challenged Umoh on what he described as his needless objection and playing to the gallery without quoting any relevant authority.
Counsel to Senator Akpabio, Mr S. I Ameh, SAN, explained why the Area Commander of Ikot Ekpene, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Naziru Bello Kankorfi, should tender his report having been subpoenaed.
In what seemed to be a move to buy time, Umoh first ordered junior counsels to change their sitting positions. He was however overruled by the Chairman of the Tribunal and cautioned not to use his position to oppress the junior counsels and advised them to maintain their sitting positions.
After series of objections and disagreements with Mr Ameh, SAN, Umoh eventually beat a retreat and plead with the tribunal to allow him withdraw his earlier objections against the appearance of the Area Commander before the Tribunal. But the tribunal Chairman rejected his plea and later ruled against him.
Opinion by Wole Arisekola