Supreme Court affirms Ikpeazu, Emmanuel winners of Abia, Akwa Ibom guber polls
The Supreme Court has upheld the elections of Gabriel Emmanuel and Okezie Victor Ikpeazu as duly elected governors of Abia and Akwa Ibom states, respectively.
The apex court also yesterday, set aside the earlier judgment of the Appeal Court, which nullified the elections held on April 11, 2015.
The sitting was presided by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmood Mohammed alongside Justices Tanko Ibrahim Mohammed, Bode Rhodes-Vivor, Kudirat Kekerekun, Suleiman Galadima, Kumai Akaahs and Centus C. Nweze.
Delivering the judgment after almost 12 hours of intense argument and counter-argument, Justice Centus Chima Nweze, said he affirmed the declaration of Udom Gabriel and Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as governors of Akwa Ibom and Abia states, respectively.
While unanimously upholding the judgment of Justice Nweze, they all agreed to give reasons for their judgment on February 15, 2016
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Owerri, removed Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of Abia State on December 30, 2015.
The court also declared Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance the winner of the April 11 and April 25 supplementary elections in the state.
Delivering judgment in an appeal filed by Mr. Otti, the five-member panel, headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, said the APGA candidate scored 164, 444 valid votes to defeat Mr. Ikpeazu who scored 114, 444 votes.
The court declared that Mr. Otti was the winner of the April 11 and April 25 supplementary elections in Abia.
Justice Omoleye said the cancellation of the elections held in three LGAs of Obingwa, Osisioma Ngwa and Isiala Ngwa by the returning officers after the results were uploaded to INEC was wrong.
Also the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on December 18, 2015 nullified the Akwa Ibom State governorship election of April 11, removing the declared winner, Udom Emmanuel, from office.
Mr. Emmanuel’s election was challenged by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Umana Umana.
At the election tribunal, Mr. Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party, had secured partial victory, with the election cancelled only in 18 out of the state’s 31 local government areas.
The tribunal had ordered a rerun.
Mr. Emmanuel had challenged the ruling, insisting he won in all 31 LGAs.
The APC candidate, Mr. Umana, also appealed against the ruling, seeking a total nullification of the election.
A five-man panel at the Court of Appeal on Thursday December 18, 2015 dismissed Emmanuel’s argument, and cancelled the entire election.