Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom: Appeal Court Nullifies Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s Election

The Court of Appeal in Abuja friday nullified the election of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State on account of “gross irregularities” in the election that brought him to office.

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom

The court subsequently ordered that a fresh election be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within 90 days in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010.

In a swift reaction, the Akwa Ibom State governor rejected the judgement and said that he would exercise his constitutional right to appeal by taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Delivering judgment in an appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Umana Okon Umana, the appellate court set aside the judgment of the state’s Election Petition Tribunal delivered October 21 which nullified the election in 18 out of the 31 local Government Areas of the state.

The unanimous judgment of a panel of five justices of the Court of Appeal, read by Justice Oludotun-Okojie held that, having established that the irregularities in the election were state-wide spread, the tribunal ought not to have spared the remaining 13 local government areas.

The appellate court justices held that the evidence from all parties showed that there was no collation during the purported election and as such, election cannot be said to have been conducted under such circumstances.

Justice Oludotun-Okojie also said that the non-substantial compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election, entitles the lower tribunal to have nullified the entire election held in the state.

According to the court, there was no dispute that the votes cast on the election day exceeded the number of accredited voters for the election, adding also that in the face of the malpractices, Governor Udom Emmanuel could not have been said to have scored the majority of the lawful votes cast.

According to her, 437,128 voters that were accredited, for the election, over 1,222,885 votes were said to have been cast showing an excess of 685,780 votes accredited for the poll.

“From some provisions of the law and simple arithmetic, no one needs a soothsayer to conclude that there was over voting in the entire election in the state,” she said.

She said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s document showing the over voting was not disputed by any of the parties in the matter.

The APC governorship candidate, Umana Okon Umana had appealed against the judgment of the state governorship election petition tribunal which on October 21 cancelled the polls in 18 local governments and upheld election in the remaining 13 local government areas in the state.

Altogether, there were five different appeals filed against the Justice Sadiq Umar-led tribunal.
One of the appeals is an interlocutory appeal filed by Governor Udom challenging Umana’s eligibility to contest the Akwa Ibom governorship election as he didn’t have a running mate and had not resigned his employment with the FCT.

In the appeal argued by his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Umana prayed the court for cancellation of the entire election, in view of the failure of the INEC to comply with the Electoral Act and guidelines for the election.
Trouble started for Udom when the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal nullified election in 18 local government areas of the state.

In the judgment, the tribunal held that election was not properly conducted in 18 of 31 local government areas of the state.
The three-member tribunal, led by Justice Sadiq Umar, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct re-run election in the affected 18 local government areas.

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