Labour party accuses Akpabio, APC of intimidating witnesses at tribunal in Uyo

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The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) on Tuesday alleged that former Governor, Godswill Akpabio and his All Progressives Congress (APC) have resorted to campaigns of blackmail and intimidation “in order to stampede witnesses into making wrong submissions” at the ongoing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election matter.

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The state party Chairman, Comrade Etim Stern made the allegation while commenting on the sideline of the tribunal session at Metro Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

The Chairman expressed worry at what he described as “abuse of court etiquette by APC lawyers”, lamenting that “such intimidating style by Akpabio’s lawyer, Mr. Sunday Ameh, threw our witness into confusion and temporary amnesia”.

Recall that Ameh had bombarded the ZLP collation agent, Mr.Kufre Augustine, with questions concerning the outcome of the polls in Obot Akara Local Government Area, forcing him to forget whether his party fielded a candidate in the Senatorial election for Akwa Ibom Norh-West.

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The mixed up had generated some controversy forcing supporters of the APC and the former Senate Minority Leader, to accuse the winner of the contest, Senator Christopher Ekpenyong, of fielding a “fake witness”.

But ZLP Chairman dismissed the allegation, saying, “the witness is a card-carrying member of our party with registration number 0020 which was duly signed by the Chairman and the Secretary”.

He explained that “Lady Mfon Flamingo, was the Senatorial flag-bearer of the ZLP in the Senatorial elections for Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District) and urged the tribunal Chairman of the three – man panel, Justice W. Akanbi, to protect witnesses from the intimidating outburst of counsels during cross-examinations”

“The witness is staunch member of our party and not a fake agent”, he stressed, even as he appealed to the tribunal to “effectively regulate the activities of counsels for decorum to prevail as the determination of the case inches towards the terminal point”.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) –led by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, had declared Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, winner of the February 23 Senatorial election for Akwa Ibom North West with over 118, 000 votes as against Akpabio’s over 83,000.