There was a mild drama at Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, Abia state today, as the remaining 10 witnesses scheduled to testify against the member representing Obingwa-West state constituency at Abia state House of Assembly (ABHA), Hon. Erondu Uchenna Erondu Jnr absconded again and refused to testify in court.
The petitioner and the candidate of Labour Party (LP) Mrs. Victoria Onwubiko who had filed a suit, challenging the victory of Hon. Erondu Jnr in the 2023 general polls had told the court through his Lead Counsel during their last sitting, that they would bring more witnesses to court today and close their case as well but on the contrary, the Lead Counsel to the petitioner, Barr. Raymond Nkannebe asked for an adjournment to a later day to enable them get more witnesses again, as their witnesses earlier seen within the court premises disappeared again.
The tribunal Chairman, Hon. Justice Kutigi frowned at the development, urging the Petitioner to brace up as there is no more time to waste.
Hon. Justice Kutigi who further disclosed that the tribunal have 15 other cases they are handling with limited time to conclude, noted that such would not be tolerated any longer.
He advised them to close their case if their witnesses are not forth coming instead of taking their time unnecessarily.
The court later adjourned to 3rd day of August 2023 to enable them bring their witnesses to court and close their case as well.
Recall that the previous 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, on 14th July 2023.
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, had reported that Mrs Onwubiko had brought 10 witnesses to court, only three witnesses testified on 14th July 2023 while the remaining seven who were in court earlier, simply disappeared.
One of the three witnesses who earlier on the same day (14th July 2023) 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.
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: Erondu Erondu Jnr, Judiciary, Labour Party, Legislature, PDP