A Media Aide to former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Mr Anietie Ekong has told the National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital that he did not vote for the former Senate Minority Leader in the February 2019 National Assembly elections.
Senator Akpabio is challenging the victory of Dr. Chris Ekpenyong of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election at the tribunal.
At the resumed sitting of the Tribunal on Tuesday, Anietie Ekong, testifying as PW17, also failed to authenticate the winner in Senator Akpabio’s unit, elections, claiming he left the venue with his boss before collation and announcement of results.
He admitted under cross examination that he is a registered voter in Ward 13, Oruk Anam Local Government Area, but never went to vote since he was busy with the Senator at his Unit in Ukana West of Essien Udim Local Government area throughout the period of the elections.
The media aide, who was subpoenaed to appear before the tribunal despite being a personal staff of the petitioner, brought DVDs and audio recordings, which were viewed by the tribunal.
However, Anietie Ekong, who admitted that he acted illegally as he was neither an agent nor an accredited election observer at Unit 9, Ukana West, also told the tribunal that the five minutes video he tendered was downloaded from Facebook and edited.
In the video, the former senator was seen accompanied by his wife, Unoma and some security officials and later seen casting votes.
Reacting to the video, Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Solomon Umoh (SAN), asserted that Mr. Ekong edited an alleged five hour video into five minutes, distorting some critical information.
“Because you compressed the video, there are cut ins,” Umoh further argued.
“Please can you show us where Chief Akpabio was accredited to vote?
“In this video, Senator Akpabio wore a long sleeve on arrival but the man you have shown us in the video being accredited wore a short sleeve. Is that not ridiculous,” Umoh exclaimed.
Pointing out that without the use of a professional camera, it was difficult to clearly confirm which particular election was being shown in the video, the INEC Counsel, U.U.Njoku argued that the petitioner had voted during the general elections in the same unit in 2011 and 2015.
INEC Counsel: You will also agree that in 2019, other than the presidential and National Assembly elections, the Governorship election also held at the same polling unit.
Anietie Ekong: Yes my Lord.
On his part, Counsel to 3rd, 4th, and 5th respondents, Robert Emukpueruo said “the complete absence of results, either carbon copy or certified true copy for this polling unit is a negation of this video you have shown us”.
Robert asked; “In this video, would-be you show us where results were declared?”
Anietie Ekong who appeared at a loss muttered, “I left with my boss to attend to international journalists at my his house.”
Robert again asked; “So you were not present at the polling unit throughout the duration of the voting process?”
“I was not present my Lord, ” Anietie Ekong responded.