Treachery, Betrayal As UNIUYO Professor Writes Two Contradictory Statements On Essien Udim Election |
The Returning Officer in the March 9, 2019 House of Assembly election conducted in Essien Udima, Ignatius Uduk, has been caught in a scandalous web of bribery and contradictions over the conduct of the lelection in the local government area, Newz NG reports.
According to recent allegation against Uduk, a University of Uyo Professor, he may sold his conscience to Akwa Ibom All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr Nse Ntuen, to testify with evidence in his favour at the election tribunal.
Newz NG recalls that following a report filed at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in the state by some electoral officers including the Returning Officer, Prof. Ignatius Uduk, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, University of Uyo on 10th March 2019, the Constituency election was cancelled by the electoral body.
But in a surprised twist unbecoming of a highly placed academic, Prof. Uduk in his witness statement while testifying last week before the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo as a subpoenaed witness for the Petitioners, recanted his earlier report that had warranted the suspension of the election in Essien Udim.
Uduk rather told the tribunal he witnessed a peaceful election and that he announced Nse Ntuen as the winner in a calm atmosphere, and not under duress.
Prof. Uduk in an earlier report personally written and signed by him (copy here attached), that he narrowly escaped death in the hands of armed thugs in Essien Udim on the day of the election, had stated that, “at about 6pm some Electoral Officers came in from the wards to complete the collation of results at the Local Government INEC office, and that at 10:45 PM, vehicles not less than 5 drove into the collation centre and immediately thugs unleashed violence on the electoral officers.
According to him, he was compelled to collate the result that was smuggled in by the thugs from the opposition, APC in support of Nse Ntuen.
What would make Prof Uduk to jettison the statement he had earlier filed at INEC office after he was made to declare fake result under duress is one puzzle that is yet to be resolved.
The Returning Officer who is believed to have collected bribe from the APC candidate, Mr. Nse Ntuen to lie before the judges, may be heading to jail as available documents exposing him are already in public domain.
A copy of Professor Uduk’s handwritten report, dated March 9th, 2019 and lodged with INEC after he was forced to declare the result under duress reads:
“Resident Electoral Commissioner
Sir, “A Report of the Events of the INEC office at Essien Udim on March 09–2019
“I was posted to Essien Udim as the R.O Constituency election. I reported to the E.O. at about 2pm. Towards 6pm some electoral officers came in from the wards to complete their collation. While there about 10.45pm vehicles not less than five drove into the HQ. My thinking suggested the return of electoral materials. Not long after there was general……were heard.
“In the stampede, violence was unleashed on the electoral officers who had to escape for their safety. As a result it would not be unexpected that the sensitive materials were destroyed and mutilated such as ballot materials and result sheets.
I was not spared as I also ran for my dear life.In the morning the electoral documents and records were to be compiled, arranged and submitted for endorsements.
How that process was carried out raised doubts, questions and issues which the Collation Officers have different experiences and tales. A Proper assessment of the situation.”
“However, I for my safety I was compelled to announce the result that was presented under duress……..How figures were arrived at were not known or clear to me as I did not take part in the active collation process according to INEC directives.
The above is for your information and necessary action, please. “Thank you” Yours Faithfully Ignatius E. Uduk (Prof)But in a witness statement deposed by him at the tribunal, Prof. Uduk contradicted himself by denying that he declared the first respondent (Nse Ntuen) winner under no threat or duress.
Apparently acting a script of “he who pays the piper dictates the tune, the Uyo born Professor stunned the tribunal and other well thinking Nigerians when he appeared before the tribunal to sing a different tune.
Apparently forgetting that his earlier report six months earlier had been documented, he stood before the tribunal to deny any violence during the March 9, 2019 polls.
Among other things which Prof Uduk deposed in an affidavit under oath and admitted before the tribunal, “He said, “I made the return of the 1st Respondent(Nse Ntuen) as the winner of the election under NO threat, compulsion, duress or inducement.
“That I state this facts (sic) conscientiously, believing same to be true in accordance with the Oaths Act.
“However, during cross-examination by Petitioners’ Counsel, Prof Uduk admitted on oath that he is not the person who collated the votes into the Local Government Collation sheet (Form EC 8C(1)which was tendered as Exhibit R101.
The form which Uduk claimed he signsd voluntarily, was however discovered to have been produced by one Dr. Nsikan Senam, who did the purported collation of ward results into the Local Government Collation sheet and not Prof. Uduk, the returning officer.
On cross examination, the university lecturer who is the immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Uyo, admitted that he did not know the exact number of poling units in Essien Udim State Constituency.
On further cross examination, Prof Uduk could also not ascertain the number of polling unit results that were collated into the final result sheet he signed, confessing that he was not the person that made the entries in the Local Government Collation sheet neither was he the person that made the entries in the final result sheet.
He stated that he was only called upon to append his signature to the final declaration of result sheet after collation by the collation officer which he could not also mention.
A last minute effort to add credence to the claim of a free election, was the tendering of a video marked Exhibit R. 138. The video showed a gathering where Prof. Ignatius Uduk was seen declaring Nse Ntuen as the winner of the election.
Unfortunately, the date on the display of the video exposed the sham, as it was clearly written on the screen of the viewing device that the recording took place on August 25,2019.