The tribunal handling the post-election misunderstanding between candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo and the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Alex Egbona would, on Tuesday, July 30th convene for final addresses before passing judgement as Egbona abandoned his trial at last sitting.
At the last sitting of Monday, July 8th, the petitioner, Rt. Hon. John Gaul testified in person and tendered 234 documents as exhibits afterwhich he called forth 13 witnesses (7 from Ekureku ward, 3 from Yakurr LGA, and and the rest from Imabana II and Ebom wards).
Whereas the First Respondent being the APC party did not enter appearance throughout the trial and refused to defend the petition, perhaps, for reason being that “they were illegally excluded” from the voting exercise; however, the Second Respondent, Mr. Alex Egbona called forth 5 witnesses (3 from Ekureku, 1 from Imabana and 1 from Yakurr LGA).
Alex who had earlier pleaded 130 documents as evidence in his defence failed to tender any before the tribunal as-well-as refusing to testify by oath, thereby turning his back against his own evidence and frustratingly closing his defense case.
The Third Respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called forth 1 witness and tendered 2 documents (the certificate of return issued to Alex Egbona and election declaration sheet which showed that Alex’s name was cancelled as candidate in the election before the result was declared).
The INEC witness also identified the relevant INEC voter register used for the exercise and admitted the ones that were not ticked.
At the end of the 8th July, 2019 sitting, the case was adjourned to 30th July, 2019 for final addresses after which a judgement will be passed.
From the proceedings in the tribunal, one could bet that the tribunal will definitely deliver judgment within the next 30 days and winner will emerge, however, subject to the right of Appeal.
It could be recalled that in the 2015 National Assembly Election for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency, Alex Egbona of Labour Party (as he then was) petitioned Bassey Ewa of PDP. It could also be recalled that Alex later lost the case to Bassey and refused to appeal the judgement of the tribunal but rather defected to the APC.