Seven out of 10 witnesses called by the candidate of the Labour party (LP), Mrs. Victoria Dibunwa Onwubiko to testify against the member representing Obingwa-West State constituency at Abia state House of Assembly (ABHA), Hon. Erondu Uchenna Erondu Jnr absconded without testifying at the Election Tribunal, sitting in Umuahia Abia state, recently.
Mrs. Onwubiko of the Labour Party (LP) who dragged the former Aide to ex Abia State Governor, Hon. Erondu Jnr. of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to court, had listed a total of 82 witnesses in her petition, later reduced it to 20 witnesses for the fear of the unknown at the pre trial stage.
Our Correspondent who covered the proceedings in court on the first hearing, reports that Mrs Onwubiko had brought 10 witnesses to court, only three witnesses testified, while the remaining seven who were in court earlier, simply disappeared.
This development caused her lead Counsel, Barr. C. C. Nwachukwu, to request that the tribunal give the petitioner more time to get more witnesses.
One of the three witnesses who earlier alleged under cross-examination, that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) register was not used and the poor functioning Biomidal verification Accreditation system (BVAS), used in the conduct of the Obingwa-West state constituency election, reversed himself and admitted that INEC voter register was used and BVAS functioned properly from which he (the witness) also voted.
Another witness also admitted under cross examination that there was no mutilation and alteration of exhibits, especially form EC 8A which was the result sheet as he earlier alleged.
The tribunal Chairman, Hon. Justice Kutigi had earlier asked the petitioner to close their case since their witnesses were not forthcoming but their request for more time was granted and the case was adjourned to 25th July, 2023.
Information gathered revealed that INEC would open their case on the same day (25th July 2023).
Mrs. Onwubiko had in a suit: EPT/HA/11/2023; Mrs. Victoria Dibunma Onwubiko Vs Hon. Erondu Uchenna Erondu Jnr, alleged that Hon Erondu Jnr was wrongly declared winner of the Obingwa-West state constituency election, praying the court to declare her the winner.Tags: Abia House of Assembly, Erondu Erondu Jnr, Judiciary, Labour Party, PDP