Appeal Court Nullifies Akwa-Ibom Gov Poll  *Orders Fresh Election In 90 Days *Udom Heads To Supreme Court


Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) – 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the outcome of the April 11 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.

The appellate court equally set aside the verdict of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had on October 21, ordered a re-run poll in 18 out of 31 Local Government Areas in the state.

The court in the lead judgment del‎ivered by Justice Adefunke Okojie, held that the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal erred when it voided election results from only 18 Local Government Areas ‎in the state.

The five-man panel of Justices of the appellate court, in a unanimous judgement, said there was sufficient evidence that the election which produced Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not conducted in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.

The appellate court held that the Justice Sadiq Umar-led tribunal failed to properly evaluate both oral and documentary evidence that were adduced before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Umana Okon Umana.

The five-man panel of Justices of the appellate court, in a unanimous judgement, said there was sufficient evidence that the election which produced Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not conducted in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.

The appellate court held that the Justice Sadiq Umar-led tribunal failed to properly evaluate both oral and documentary evidence that were adduced before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Umana Okon Umana.

Consequently, in a unanimous judgment, a five-man panel of Justices of the ‎appellate court, voided the Certificate of Return that was issued to Governor Emmanuel Udom ‎by the Independent National Electoral Commission and ordered that a fresh governorship election should be conducted in the state within 90 days.

“The 1st respondent, Governor Emmanuel, was not duly elected by majority of lawfully cast votes. The tribunal was wrong by failing to invalidate the entire election. The appeal succeeds. The judgement of the tribunal sustaining election in 13 LGAs of the state is hereby set aside.

“The entire governorship election is hereby nullified. Consequently, the election and return of the 1st respondent as the duly elected governor of Akwa Ibom State is hereby nullified. The 4th defendant (INEC) is to conduct a fresh election in Akwa Ibom State within 90 days”, Justice Okojie held.

Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel has vowed to challenge the nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal which ordered a fresh election in all the lo­cal government areas of the state.

According to the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aniekan Umana, “ we will definitely go to Supreme Court. We are not afraid of facing election because we know we can win over and over again, but we want to exhaust the legal option.” 

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