Emmanuel wins at Appeal Court, dedicates victory to God
An appeal by All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Mr Nsima Ekere against Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, yesterday failed at the Appeal Court, Calabar.
The court, which upheld the decision of the lower tribunal, said the appeal “lacks merit and hereby dismissed and awarded N500,000 cost against the petitioners.”
It was a unanimous decision by the five judges led by Justice M.A Mishelia.
The lead judgment, which was read by Justice Tunde Awotoyi, said: “ The law stipulates that an election shall not be invalidated by the reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act if the election was conducted substantially in accordance with provisions of the act. And that the non-compliance did not affect the result of the election substantially.
“Therefore, when the return of an election is being questioned on the grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, it does not suffice to prove non-compliance. The petition must be able to go further to prove that the non-compliance was substantial and affected the result of the election. The authorities in this regard are legion.
“The petitioner must not only assert but must be able to satisfy the court that the non-compliance affected the result to justify nullification. The non-compliance has to include the polling units, wards and local councils.”
The Akwa Ibom State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, said: “That is exactly what was expected in the sense that by the time we went through the trial processes and procedures in the trial tribunal, it was very evident that the petitioners now appellants did not make any conscious efforts to prove their case. The case they brought to court was full of contradictions and the evidence lacked legal principles.
“They also did not understand that when you have the issue of non-compliance and allegation of violence, it must be proved unit by unit, ward by ward. What transpires in one unit cannot be an evidence in an election petition and so it is complex for any petitioner to establish.
“As it stands now, the Court of Appeal has affirmed the findings and conclusion of the trial tribunals that the petitioners were unable to prove their allegations of irregularities against Udom Emmanuel as governor of Akwa Ibom State and the PDP.
Counsel to the appellant thanked the court for the judgment as it has given room for further learning.
Meanwhile, Governor Udom Emmanuel has dedicated his victory at the Appeal Court to God and the good people of Akwa Ibom State.
In a statement issued and signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ekerete Udoh, the governor thanked the people of Akwa Ibom State for the their support, prayers and faith in his capacity and passion to turn the state into an industralised hub and the attendant job and wealth creation opportunities.
“Today, the Appeal Court sitting in Calabar overwhelmingly re-affirmed the victory you gave me at the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial elections.”
“I am hugely indebted to you my dear people for your support and prayers and of course, our only God who made this all possible.
“Together, we will continue to rewrite the Akwa Ibom story and show the world that where the passion is right, great things can happen.
“Again, I extend my hands of fellowship to my brothers and sisters on the other side of the political divide to join hands with me to build an economically-viable state where our people’s standard of living will be improved significantly,” he said.
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