The Independent Electoral Commission [INEC] which claimed to have conducted governorship and other elections on the 11th and 12th of April, 2015 in Rivers State and subsequently released what many consider false results, on Tuesday abruptly closed its case after calling only 16 witnesses and with a full day left and a long list of witnesses it planned to call yet to appear.
The abrupt stop announced by INEC lead Counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu mid-way into Tuesday’s hearing elicited surprise from Counsels to 2nd and 3rd Respondents.
Counsel to the 2nd Respondent [Nyesom Wike], Okey Wali [SAN] expressed his surprise thus: “My Lord, I am surprised at this development, but nevertheless we will open our defence tomorrow [Wednesday]” On the part of the 3rd Respondent, the PDP, its Counsel, Chris Uche [SAN] expressed shock over the development when he said, “We are shocked too,”
Similarly, Counsel to the petitioner, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Chief Akin Olujimi [SAN] was not different in his reaction. He said: “My Lordship, if you look at our side today, you will see we were ready for them; to see this now is most amazing.”
The APC finds it curious that the 16 witnesses INEC presented were all ad-hoc or temporary staff with no known addresses. But even more curious to the APC is the fact that INEC carefully or tactically shielded Dame Gesila Khan, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner and other top permanent personnel of the Commission from appearing at the tribunal to defend the so-called results INEC declared in April.
Part of the conclusion the APC would like to join other observers to make is that the Commission is already convinced of the bad nature of the case and would not want to further expose itself to ridicule before the nation and the world at large. We also believe that as the electoral umpire that solely conductors elections, the major onus of proof that elections took place in substantial agreement with relevant laws of the country rests on the commission, the reason the Commission is the 1st Respondent in the matter. However, what appears to be its shoddy handling and near abandonment of the matter speak volume.
The APC also believes that, as widely circulated by the informal media, witnesses to the INEC afraid of running afoul of perjury, disappeared into thin air, preferring to disappoint the electoral umpire than go to prison for lying on oath. This accounted for why INEC abruptly ended its case a whole day earlier than the tribunal had allotted INEC..
It is also important for the APC to use this medium to state that contrary to the impression in the media that INEC stated that soldiers, the Police and the DSS lied under oath that election did not hold, the allusions to not seeing these security agents around election locations was made by ad-hoc or temporary personnel such as Youth Corpers as no INEC personnel of note appeared before the tribunal to justify the election the Commission claimed to have held and results announced against the position of Nigerians, local and International election observers.
The APC would like to ask for the umpteenth time why it appears that the Independent Electoral Commission [INEC] technically abandoned its matter midway into trial thereby leaving Nyesom Wike and the PDP to their fate.
State Publicity Secretary
Tues, Sept 29, 2015