The senator representing Anambra South, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, on Saturday, failed in his bid to stop an ICT expert from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from testifying against him at the Anambra Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka.
The Tribunal had subpoenaed INEC ICT Directorate upon the application of the petitioner, Chief Chris Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to provide some materials and testify in the matter.
Ubah, through his counsel however objected to INEC staff, Mr Aka Agwe testifying, arguing that he was not among those original listed to testify in the petition and that his written statement on oath was not done within the 21 days permitted by the electoral act.
The Tribunal, however, ruled that subpoena, through which the INEC staff was invited to testify was a court order and he must be allowed to testify.
According to the ruling which was read by Hon. Justice Sunday Olorundahunsi, the objection by Ubah’s could not be sustained as the argument of listing and front loading witnesses and evidences was not possible because INEC could not have easily deposed written statement against itself as a respondent in the petition.
He said, “Tribunal is of the view that the INEC ICT Director be allowed to testify.”
In his testimony, Agwe, an Assistant Director, tendered documentary evidence including Smart Card Reader accreditation data for all polling units in Anambra South with accompanying certificate of compliance.
Others were manual for election official 2019 and Regulations and Guidelines for conduct of election 2019.
The witness, when cross-examined by Obinna Adindu Esq. counsel to INEC, said, “We provided spare card reader machines so that if one failed, the other could be uploaded”.
Three other PDP witnesses who worked as PDP agents in Nnewi Ichi, Umudim and Uruagu testified, bringing the total of petitioner’s witnesses so far entertained to eight.
Hon. Thelma Okara, chairman of the tribunal, adjourned the matter to July 29 for further hearing.