Dr. Alloysius William, one of the witnesses called by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, before the National Assembly elections petition tribunal sitting in Uyo, stunned the court with some revelations at the weekend.
William claimed before the tribunal that the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mike Igini, instructed him to cancel votes that had already been collated for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Recall that the candidate of the PDP, Chris Ekpenyong, was declared winner of the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Akpabio, a former Governor of the State, is challenging Ekpenyong’s declaration at the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
The former lawmaker had presented his witnesses in the case. Ekpenyong had also called his witnesses and closed his case.
However, at the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday for the PDP to open its case, William, a lecturer in the University of Uyo, told the court that results which had already been collated at the local government and senatorial district offices of INEC and which showed that Akpabio had won convincingly were cancelled on the orders of Igini in his office in Uyo.
He made the revelations during cross-examination by S. I. Ameh, the lead counsel to Akpabio.
William told the tribunal that as the returning officer for Essien Udim, Akpabio’s home Local Government Area, he personally prepared the result sheet, which he entered the score for the candidate of the APC as 61,329 votes while the PDP candidate scored 9,050 votes.
The witness said, “I agree that adjustments were done. These adjustments reflected in the final scores. The adjustments were done outside Essien Udim LGA. They were done at INEC office in Uyo.”
When asked to confirm the earlier testimony of a witness of Ekpenyong, the PDP candidate, Mr Anny Asikpo, that he (the Returning Officer) had at some point disappeared from the Collation centre, a dazed William said: “I did not abscond.”