The hearing of the case involving the Independent National Electoral Commission and Professor Ignatius Uduk over 2019 election fraud was on Thursday stalled following objections raised against the legal representation of INEC.
Recall that Prof Uduk is standing trial over electoral fraud he allegedly committed during the 2019 general election in the state.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Archibong Archibong in high court 4 adjourned the case to July, 19, 2021 to enable INEC respond on point of law to its decision to withdraw the letter introducing Clement Onwenwunor as the principal counsel representing the Commission in the case.
Counsel to the accused, Abasiodiong Ekpenyong had opposed the replacement of Kpoobari Sigalo with Clement Onwenwunor, who had in previous sitting presented a letter to the court introducing himself as the lead counsel for INEC.
Ekpenyong argued that the document filed by the prosecution was not done as known to law and provided for by the Akwa Ibom State criminal law.
According to him the fiat was authorized by the Attorney General of the state instead of the Federal Government, saying INEC was a Federal agency.
He argued further that since the Attorney General of the state issued the fiat for the prosecution, he has usurped the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation, adding that there was no charge before the court, and requested that the case be dismissed.
In his defense, Counsel to INEC, Clement Onwenwunor told the court to adopt the rejoinder filed on July 12, 2021 in respect to the objection, adding that Counsel to the accused did not cite the law that was breached.
He said since the objection to his fiat was presented verbally, he also responded verbally, adding that if the court considered the submissions of the accused, it should also consider his own.
He argued that the objection that the fiat must be obtained from the Attorney General of the Federation was not correct, adding that the powers of the AG of the Federation according to the 1999 constitution as amended, can be exercised at any time.
He argued that he does not need a fiat from the AG of the Federation as the state can authorise a private practitioner.
To this end, Counsel to INEC sought for the withdrawal of the letter for proper filing, and the court granted the request.