Uduk: Court to embrace a ‘no submission case’ as INEC concludes prosecution

An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital, has actually revealed its resolve to embrace a ‘no case submission’ in the ongoing electoral fraud case against Professor Ignatius Uduk of the department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, Uyo.

The ‘no case submission’ would be submitted by the defence counsel, Mr. Abasiodiong Ekpenyong.

This came following the conclusion of prosecution by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Recall that Professor Uduk, who was the Collation/Returning Officer for the Essien Udim State Constituency elections in the 2019 general elections, was arraigned in December 2020, over alleged announcement and incorrect publication of outcomes.

The Prosecution Lawyer, Mr. Clement Onwuenwunor, at a resumed hearing, called 4 Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) of INEC as witnesses.

During Cross examination, Ms. Geraldine Okpashi, Supervisory Presiding Officer, Odoro Ikot 2, who was the second prosecution witness (PW2), told the court that there was crisis in her registration location as punks attacked the location, shot in the air, hauled away ballot box and abducted the administering officer, adding that she ran away.

The third Prosecution Witness (PW3) Mr. Daniel Udoka, Supervisory Presiding Officer, Ukana West, Registration Area 011, informed the court same circumstance of the PW2 played out in his location, adding that the presiding officers after they restored liberty, informed him that they were taken to an unknown destination where they were compelled to thumb print in favour of APC.

The defence counsel, however, did not cross take a look at the staying two witnesses.

The trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, for that reason, adjourned the case till February 24, 2022, for the adoption of ‘no case submission’

On why he solved to file a ‘no case submission’ after the close of the prosecution case, the Defence Lawyer, Mr.Ekpenyong, informed Newsmen that a ‘no case submission’ address is a position of the defense after the close of the case of the prosecution if the evidence led by the prosecution does not satisfy the requirement of law or if it does, it has actually been manifestly rejected under interrogation so much so that no sensible tribunal can continue thereafter.

He added that such could likewise be filed when a lawyer in a public interest-driven case chooses not to cross analyze a witness as applicable in the prosecution witnesses, saying that the factor would be described in his address on February, 24.

In his response, the Prosecution Lawyer, Clement Onwuenwunor, accepted that a ‘no case submission’ is provided by the law, saying that his group is prepared to respond to whatever the defence group will install in their address.

He expressed hope that the case would function as a reference that whoever is engaged by INEC to supervise an election, must appreciate the guideline of engagement even as the 2023 elections are close.