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A’court dismisses forgery case against Eno, affirms election as Akwa Ibom governor

The court of appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld the judgment of the tribunal affirming Umo Eno as the governor of Akwa Ibom state. 

In the judgment handed down on Friday, the appellant court quashed three separate appeals filed against Eno.

The three-member panel of judges led by Festus Obande dismissed the appeal instituted by Bassey Albert and his party, the Young Progressives Party (YPP), against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Eno, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lacking in merit.

The court also ruled in favour of Eno against the petitions by John Udoedehe of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and Akanimo Udofia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) respectively, for devoid of substance.

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The electoral umpire had declared Eno as the winner of the governorship election in Akwa Ibom with a total of 356,348 votes, while Albert came second with 136,262 votes. Udofia polled third with 129,602 votes.

Dissatisfied with the election outcome, Albert, Udofia, and Udoedehe, who came fourth, filed separate appeals at the tribunal — ranging from certificate forgery to improper conduct of the PDP’s primary poll that produced Eno as governorship candidate.

Delivering judgment in September, the tribunal held that the supreme court had already settled the issue of Eno’s qualification and that the petitioners lacked the locus to challenge how the PDP conducted its primaries to produce a candidate.

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Unfazed by the tribunal verdict, the trio went to the appeal court.

On Friday, the court of appeal upheld the tribunal’s position on the certificate forgery allegations against Eno.

“On the issue of the academic certificates of the second respondent, no cause of action has arisen or will ever arise regarding his credentials,” the judge said.

“There was no forged certificate presented to INEC. It has already been held to be genuine by the supreme court, so the issue is resolved against the appellant.”

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The court also awarded the sum of N500,000 in favour of Eno and his party, against Albert.

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