Akwa-Ibom Guber: INEC Allegedly Pours Water On 1M Ballot Papers To Frustrate APC’s Petition At The Tribunal
Counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Akwa Ibom state election Victor Iyanam has accused the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) of trying to sabotage proceedings at the tribunal.
He alleged that INEC poured water on the one million ballot papers making it more difficult for the required forensic examination to be carried out.
The APC candidate Umanah Umanah took the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Emmanuel Udom to the tribunal after he was declared winner of the April 11 governorship election by INEC.
Speaking on Wednesday, Iyanam who is a former commissioner of justice in the state said from the court proceedings, the judge initially ruled that trial should start on Wednesday (today) July 8 but since the materials were just arriving on Friday July 3 after office hours, “the petitioner asked for 14 days extension before trial. The Judge however gave seven days which includes Saturday and Sunday. The trial will now begin Tuesday July 14.”
He said “now the problem is INEC is using the same delay tactics they used in Uyo to make it impossible for the forensic team to start their work. By the way the forensic experts have been in Uyo since May 14 and have been unable to conduct any examination in seven weeks.”
INEC on July 6 had requested a letter from the petitioner to allow the forensic team start work, which they received same day.
Umanah’s counsel alleged that on Tuesday July 7, the commission “has requested that to proceed with examination they need the legal officer from Uyo who accompanied the election materials to Abuja to return. The legal officer just dumped the materials after hours on Friday and returned to Uyo without handing over officially to anyone. Apparently, procedurally they have to wait for the legal officer from Uyo to handover the materials which at this point could take another day. At this rate the forensic team might not be able to get to examination until Thursday July 9.”
He noted that it takes two to three weeks to properly examine the materials and “in this case we would be looking at about 1million ballot papers. The process to examine the evidence has been made harder as INEC Uyo squeezed the papers like trash and poured water on them.
“This means the ballot paper will have to be straightened out and dried to be able to begin the process of scanning them electronically for examination. This doubles the time for the forensics team as the machines that would normally scan 50 papers per minute but with the wrinkled state of the papers, they would be lucky to scan 20 ballot papers per minute.
“Based on a technical precedence of the tribunal proceedings, the terrible state of the election materials is on its own a criminal offence.”