The Rivers State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was enveloped in fear as the Labour Party governorship candidate in the state, Beatrice Itubo, called her first witness in the quest to prove that neither PDP nor Sir Siminalaiyi Fubara won the March 18 election
The Labour Party candidate, Otubo, through her counsel, Prince Nwekrere, tendered 820 documents from 23 local government areas in the state governorship results uploaded on INEC IREV.
The tribunal admitted all the documents in evidence as exhibits, an action which Fubara’s lawyers could not stop.
Nwekrere also called his first witness, whose name was given as Frederick Nwojie, a public servant and the LP’s state coalition agent who was also cross-examined by the defence counsels, including those of INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Fubara and PDP.
During cross-examination by INEC Counsel Sule Umoru, Nwojie admitted that he did not witness any electoral process or counting of votes aside from his polling station where he cast his vote.
During the cross-examination by counsel for Fubara, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, the witness also testified ťthat he was unaware that all the polling agents signed the result sheets as they were chased away with the few that signed.
The witness, however, insisted that there were irregularities in the Rivers state governorship election and that INEC defaulted haven failed to go through the required process.
However, the counsel to the PDP, Wale Balogun, asked the witness if they followed the due process during the election and if there were accreditation of voters and if the BVAS machine was used in his polling unit and if he was allowed into the coalition centre, he said yes insisting that they were not allowed to see the upload of the result.
The witness was grilled and asked if he was aware of a federal high court judgement delivered on January 23 ruling that uploading results on a BVAS machine is not compulsory, based on INEC discretion.
Counsel for the petitioners, Nwekere, then asked the court to allow him re-examine the witness on the question asked if the voting and accreditation followed due process, including uploading of results on the INEC portal.
His request was rejected by the respondent’s counsel, who insisted that it was a straightforward question to which the witness gave a clear answer.
The three Member Panel led by Justice Cletus Emifonye intervened in the argument and said a ruling would be delivered on the issue when delivering the final judgement.
He later adjourned further hearing to Tuesday, July 11, for continuation of the hearing.
Meanwhile, the petition brought by Tony Cole of APC challenging the announcement of Fubara as the winner could not be entertained as the court informed the litigants that a member of the panel had taken ill.
Cole, however, expressed his determination to fight for a fair hearing despite his party’s withdrawal from the petition.