Akwa Ibom: Again, Emmanuel floors Ekere as tribunal dismisses petition

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the election of Peoples Democratic Party candidate Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state as duly elected in the March 9 governorship poll.

The three-man tribunal which unanimously upheld the election Thursday dismissed the petitions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship Obong Nsima Ekere for failing to prove its prayers beyond reasonable doubt.

The petitioners had challenged the result of the election seeking that the election be invalidated for non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, and that the 1st respondent, Mr Udom Emmanuel was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

They asked the tribunal “to declare that the election was void and invalid due to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2015 (sic) and the election being invalid by reason of non-compliance was null and void;

“That it should order a fresh election for the office of the governor in Akwa Ibom state, except in Etim Ekpo and Essien Udim where elections were held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2015 (sic).

The chairman of the three-man panel, Chief Justice A. M Yusuf, while delivering judgement said the petitioners failed to call witnesses in eight (8) local government areas out of the 21 local government areas where they claimed to have won, stressing that documentary evidence however daring cannot be thrown on the tribunal without oral evidence linking the documents to the issues in the case (petition).

The tribunal further noted that the documents submitted by the petitioners were not linked to any parts of the petition and that most of them were mere photocopies of public documents and not the required Certified True Copies of the documents.

The court also noted that the petitions lacked merit and the Petitioners were not able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubts.

“The onus is on the petitioner who alleges irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 to prove same. That the petitioner failed in the discharge of such burden;

“The petitioners could neither prove non-compliance nor substantial non-compliance to lead to a cancellation of the elections. For the petitioner to have complained of non-compliance and irregularities in elections in 799 polling units and only end up calling 43 was grossly inadequate to satisfy the burden of proving non-compliance and irregularities with the provisions of the Electoral Act which requires a unit by unit prove, by law,” Yusuf said.

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