GOD’S MERCY SAVED US FROM AKPABIO’S ARMED THUGS – INEC RETURNING OFFICER
An INEC official, Ammba Ammba, Tuesday told the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that he and his team were abducted and threatened at gunpoint to write results in favour of Senator Godswill Akpabio during the February 2019 General Elections.
While being led in evidence by Solomon Umoh SAN, Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ammba who was Returning Officer for Ekpenyong Ward 1 in Essien Udim LGA, said God saved his life as he saw hell in the hands of Akpabio’s men.
In his words, “we were whisked and forced into thumb printing and writing results in favour of the APC without proper accreditation and elections,” said Amba.
“Some people came here and said people (whose name they did not mention) told them there was accreditation and elections in your ward in Essien Udim and results were collated”, Umoh asked?
“There was no accreditation and election in Ekpenyong Ward 1” – Ammba replied.
“Can you narrate your ordeal in the hands of agents of the petitioners?” Umoh
“My Lord, it was very bloody. After distributing materials in Wards 1 to 4, we were at a location that houses Wards 5 and 6 to distribute materials.
“Heavily armed thugs invaded and whisked us back into the vehicles we were using. We did not distribute materials for Units 5 to 15. They drove us to a location where there was no network to communicate.
“They removed materials and forced Presiding Officers to thumbprint and write results in favour of the APC. We were kept in captivity between the hours of 8:00am and 6:30pm,” Ammba narrated.
Ammba argued that it would be wrong to entertain such results in favour of APC maintained that, “It won’t be right because we wrote a report which I submitted through my Electoral Officer”.
On cross examination by Counsel to the Petitioner, Sunday Ameh SAN, Ammba also explained to the tribunal that he did not report to the Police because he was answerable to the Returning Officer, whon he channelled his report.
The witness while answering to Ameh who argued that there was no date on the Election Report also explained to the tribunal that his report dated 23/02/2019 has a certified true stamp by the Returning Officer to show receipt, adding that it is at the prerogative of a Staff to write date on any document.
“Is there a date on this document? Ameh
“There is a certified true stamp by my Electoral Officer and it is at his prerogative to write date” Ammba
On reexamination by Njoku, the Tribunal heightened Ameh’s frustration by over ruling his objections, which were meant to stop questions to answer why there was no date on the report submitted by the Witness as an evidence.
“Is the report an internal memo of your Organization? Njoku, Counsel to Senator Chris Ekpenyong
“I object to this question my Lord, I did not ask the witness if it was a memo or report, I asked for the date” Ameh
“Ask your question Mr Njoku” Tribunal Chairman
“”Is the report an internal memo of your Organization? Njoku
“That is correct” Ammba
“Is it the practice that there would be date on internal memos or reports?” – Njoku
“I object to this question My Lord” Ameh
“My Lord, this question is ambiguous” Umoh
“My Lord, I think I need to be respected. If I have pleaded ambiguity at any other time doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be respected” Ameh
“My Lord, my learned friend always did same when we cross examined his witness. Whether he accepts it or not, this question is ambiguous” Umoh
“I agree with you Mr. Umoh. Please ask your question Mr. Njoku ” – Tribunal Chairman
“”When you write memos or reports, are dates usually indicated?” – Njoku
“It does not necessarily have a date. One may or may not write a date but it’d be stamped” – Ammba
Njoku prayed the Tribunal to attach Police Escorts for his Witness for Security reasons as he had received intelligence report of clamp down earlier today.
The tribunal granted the prayer and adjourned to Wednesday, July 3, 2019.