The petition filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) against Gov. Udom Emmanuel has suffered a setback on Friday at the Akwa Ibom Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo.
Ekere and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had planned to replace certain paragraphs in their petition but it met a brick-wall at the state election petition tribunal on Friday for not been filed on time as most party agents refused to testify as witnesses.
The tribunal however, closed for pre-hearing without hearing and adopting their petition and warning that there would be no further extension of time and every motion not heard on Friday would be entertained concurrently with the trial.
Counsel for the petitioners, Prof. Chukwu who stood in for his colleague, Okutekpa, pleaded with the tribunal ‘for the sake of time’ to admit the two motions seeking to amend their petition, even though they filed the motion on June 17.
The move was however, vehemently opposed by counsel to first respondent, Asam Asam SAN, saying that the appeal was unacceptable.
“The motion is not ripe for hearing as we have just been served. The motion may look simple but therein lies the crux of this matter, thus we need time to peruse it page by page. It can be taken later as we have not exhausted allotted time by the rule”.
Lead counsel to second respondent, Uko Udom, also opposed the motion, stating that they have just been served.
His position was shared by lead counsel to 3rd respondent, Offiong Offiong, citing the same reason.
The tribunal chairman asked counsels of both parties to agree on a date for consideration of the motion but Asam Asam SAN suggested that counsel to the petitioners should give a date which would suit both sides to avoid further extension.
When they could not agree on a date, the tribunal reminded them that pre-hearing would not be extended; consequently the motions should be heard on Monday June 24, 2019.
The date was eventually opposed by the counsels due to their engagements in other cases.
They pleaded with the court to reconsider the date so that both parties can prepare aptly.
The matter was later adjourned until July 4.