Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo
As the battle for the Senate seat for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom North-West), shifted from the main election to the tribunal, indication emerged at the weekend that forensic experts will begin examination of voting materials including some 450,000 ballot papers used in declaring Governor Godswill Akpabio winner of the March 28 contest this week.
It is to beat the mandatory 10 days given to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the tribunal for the materials to be made available for examination by forensic officials and the time frame, it was learnt, would expire early next week.
Chief Inibehe Okorie, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, who challenged Akpabio in the contest, but lost, had taken the matter before the tribunal, arguing that INEC erred in declaring Akpabio winner in a contest that was heavily manipulated to favour the outgoing Governor.
The Union gathered, Chief Okorie had since travelled to Abuja with a view to securing the services of the forensic experts for proper screening of the materials.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, had granted the relief sought by the plaintiff’s counselChief Assam Assam (SAN), to the effect that INEC should made the materials available and grant the experts unhinscreening dered access to inspect the documents before the resumed hearing of the case later this month.