Breaking: Tribunal Rejects Etiebet’s Evidence

The Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election
Tribunal sitting in the High Court of the
Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on
Wednesday rejected evidence sought to be
tendered by former Petroleum Minister,
Atuekong Don Etiebet at the ongoing
hearing of the governorship petition
brought by the All Progressives Congress
candidate, Mr Umana Okon Umana against
the election of Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel
as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
At the resumed hearing of the case on
Wednesday, July 29, Atuekong Etiebet
appearing as a witness for the APC
candidate had sought to tender some
newspaper and video evidence which he
claimed he had made during and after the
election.
However counsel to the Governor of Akwa
Ibom State, Paul Usoro, SAN had strongly
objected to the admissibility of such
documents by the Court claiming that they
did not meet the basic ingredients of the
law for them to be admitted by the Tribunal.
According to Mr Usoro, for such documents
to have been admitted they ought to have
been pleaded by the witness in his
statement, an action which Atuekong Etiebet
And the APC lawyers had overlooked.
On the video evidence, Counsel to Mr
Emmanuel had also argued that it was not
enough to have mentioned the generic
name of the Computer like Hewlett Packard
which the video was said to have been
made from but that it was mandatory by law
to state the model And serial numbers of the
machines.
Counsel to the Independent National
Electoral Commission, Mr Tobechukwu
Nweke while aligning himself with the
submissions of Mr Usoro also went further
to state that the origin of computer
generated evidence ought to be ascertained
since they are subject to distortions and
manipulations.
Mr Usoro, citing several legal authorities had
also contended that for the newspapers to
be admitted, they ought to have been
certified by the National Library a position
Counsel to the APC candidate, Mr Wole
Olanipekun, SAN had tried to debunk also
citing his own legal authorities.
After. 30 minutes break to write their ruling,
Hon Justice A. S. Umar, Hon Justice K. O.
Dawodu and Hon Justice P. T. Kwahar
unanimously agreed with the Counsel to Mr
Udom Emmanuel that the newspapers and
video evidence which Atuekong Etiebet had
sought to tender did not meet the necessary
legal requirements and subsequently threw
them out.
Legal analysts believe that the rejection of
the evidence of Atuekong Etiebet was a
great set back for the candidate of the APC,
Mr Umana Okon Umana who had also
expressed frustration over the inability of
his team of forensic experts to have
scanned substantial materials even as the
Court-ordered extension had since expired.
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State,
Obong Victor Attah who was also slated to
testify for the APC may suffer a similar fate
as Etiebet. The Tribunal continued its
business with the cross-examination of the
witnesses of the APC.

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