Counsels to Mr. Umo Eno, the governorship candidate of the PDP, attempted to swap the certificate of Mr. Eno, which they tendered in Court on Tuesday 13th September.
There was drama at the Federal High Court, Uyo, on Wednesday 14th September during continuation of hearing in the case against Mr. Umo Eno when the plaintiff, Mr Akan Okon raised an alarm that the photocopy of Eno’s certificate presented to him was different from the one that was tendered yesterday.
During further cross examination of Mr. Okon, lead counsel to the 2nd defendant, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, presented a photocopy of the certificate of Mr. Eno to the plaintiff for sighting in Court, the plaintiff said the copy was not legible, that he should be given the original copy of the certificate tendered in court on Tuesday.
When the certificate was presented to Mr. Okon, he raised an alarm that the original copy he saw yesterday is different from what he is being shown today and it is different from the photocopy marked exhibit.
He observed that there was a pagination, “2/2” inscribed on the bottom strip of the 1981 certificate and “1/2” also inscribed on the bottom strip of the 1983 certificate were all trimmed off.
“My Lord I can’t see this copy clearly. Let them bring the original”.
When the original was brought, Okon screamed.
“My Lord this is not what I saw yesterday, the photocopy is not complete. Please ask them to bring the original certificate they presented yesterday. The copy they tendered yesterday had pagination, the photocopy that was admitted yesterday is different from this one they are presenting to me.”
“My Lord, please tell them to bring the original of the certificate they tendered yesterday”, he reiterated.
When the Judge, Justice A. A. Okeke, directed the court clerk to bring the photocopy of the certificate tendered yesterday by Mr. Umo Eno, and presented to Okon, he drew the attention of the court to the bottom strip on the photocopy admitted in court yesterday, raising alarm that the one presented today does not have the pagination on the bottom strip.
“My Lord, look at this, the pagination has been cut off. They have changed it. They have changed it”, Okon screamed.
At that point, the plaintiff’s lead counsel, Mr. Okey Amaechi, SAN, screamed at the court clerk to return the new original certificate to the defense counsel and file back the one they presented yesterday which had pagination.
In a bid to take the plaintiff’s attention away from the attempt to swap the certificate, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, told the plaintiff in open Court to take his eyes off the defense counsel’s bench and remain focused towards the Judge.
In his exact words, Mr. Usoro said “Don’t look at the lawyers, look at the Court.”
The observable differences on the certificate as raised by the plaintiff was noted by the Court.
In his oral testimony to further prove that Eno’s WAEC result was forged, Mr. Okon in response to a question asked by Mr. Usoro, told the Court that his forensic expert witness had established in his evidence in Court that the 2nd defendant’s online confirmation result was printed from a website, www.waeconline.ng.org, created by one Olasoji Ajayi of Sigma Technologies Nigeria Limited.
“My Lord, my findings show that those of us who sat for the 1981 May/June WAEC, their online confirmation are not uploaded on WAEC’s authentic website. WAEC has not uploaded candidates’ results from 1998 down.”
While cross-examining the plaintiff, 3rd defendant’s (INEC) lawyer, Mr. Harrison Eze, asked how he knew that the 2nd defendant’s voter’s card was not issued by INEC.
Mr. Okon said, he checked the registration status of the 2nd defendant by typing his surname, and year of birth on INEC registration portal, and no information about him was displayed.
Mr. Eze further asked Mr. Okon if he knew that it is only the database manager of INEC that is authorised to acces INEC database.
Mr. Okon said that the lawyer’s assertion was incorrect.
Mr. Eze then added, “can I put it to you that by your activity of 24th April 2022, that you hacked INEC’s database?”
Mr. Okon responded, “No. My Lord, INEC allows voters limited access to their portal to check their registration status. If you allow me, I will bring my phone and we can check it here. When you login to INEC portal, it will take you to a page for voters registration, there you select state, then you input your surname and year of birth, it will show the registration details of the voter including the VIN”.
In his interaction with journalists after today’s sitting, lead counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Okey Amaechi, SAN, told journalists that they had applied to INEC to provide them with the Certified True Copy of the voters register of Eno’s voting unit, but INEC has failed to provide it.
“We demanded for the voters register of the unit where he (Umo Eno) claimed to have registered, INEC is giving us excuses that they are still doing registration of voters.”
With the end of the cross-examination of the plaintiff, the lead counsel to the 1st and 2nd defendants, Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, informed the Court that they have “three short witnesses”, that the Court should “allow me the opportunity to see who my witnesses are.”
A plea the Court overlooked and adjourned the case to Thursday 15th September, for the 1st and 2nd defendants to open their defense.