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Akpabio loses at tribunal

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Akpabio

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, yesterday upheld the declaration of Christopher Ekpenyong, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as winner of the February 23 senatorial election in the North West District.

Godswill Akpabio, the 1st petitioner had challenged the victory of Ekpenyong on the ground that he was not duly elected by majority of the lawful votes cast at the election. He also alleged that the election that produced Ekpenyong as winner was invalid owing to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

He also sought an order of court declaring him (Akpabio) as the winner of the election, having, according to his claim, polled the highest number of valid and lawful votes at the poll.

But the court dismissed Akpabio’s petition wherein he prayed that the result of the election be nullified for not being held in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and a re-run ordered. The tribunal dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by all the respondents in the petition and resolved to settle the case on its merit.

The court held that the petitioner’s evidence was too weak in all ramifications to prove non-compliance with the Electoral Act, not to mention substantial non-compliance, which is the only ground for nullification of the election.

The court further stated that the petitioner failed to bring any witness from the polling units and thus could not prove substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

By a majority judgement of two justices, the tribunal dismissed the petition and upheld the declaration of Ekpenyong as the winner.

There was, however, a dissenting judgement by one out of the three judges of the tribunal.

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