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Tribunal affirms Umo Eno’s election as Akwa Ibom governor

Tribunal affirms Umo Eno’s election as Akwa Ibom governor
September 30
11:28 2023

The Akwa Ibom electoral petition tribunal has affirmed the election of  Umo Eno as the governor of the state.

In a judgement delivered on Friday, the tribunal dismissed the petition marked EPT/AKW/GOV/01/2023 instituted by Albert Bassey and his party, the Young Progressives Party (YPP), which challenged the election of the Akwa Ibom state governor.

The unanimous judgement read by Adekunle Adeleye, who led the panel, held that the issue of Eno’s qualification had already been settled by the supreme court.

The tribunal held that the petitioners lacked the locus to challenge how the PDP conducted its primaries to produce a candidate.

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Also, the tribunal held that Eno did not submit a forged WAEC certificate as claimed by the petitioners.

According to the court, the WAEC official summoned via a subpoena as PW10 authenticated the certificates.

“WAEC did not disclaim the 1981 and 1983 WAEC certificates. Without a disclaimer by the issuing authority, the certificates remain valid,” the court held.

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“There is no legislation in Nigeria that a person’s name should be arranged on a particular order on a document. 

“In the absence of any other person holding claims to the said 1981 and 1983 WAEC certificates, I hold that the certificates belong to the 2nd Respondent.

“Even the 1st petitioner himself told the court he was a victim of the same issue as three documents bearing his name tendered as exhibits before the tribunal carried different arrangements of his name, Albert Bassey, Akpan Bassey Albert and Bassey Albert Akpan. This is a case of a pot calling the kettle black.”

Summarily, the tribunal dismissed Bassey’s petition describing it as frivolous and baseless.

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On Thursday, the tribunal also dismissed the petition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Akanimo Udofia.

Udofia sought the nullification of Eno’s election on the grounds that he presented forged documents to INEC, and also did not score the highest number of valid votes in the March 18, governorship poll.

Udofia also accused the 2nd respondent of being convicted by an Abuja magistrate court, hence not qualified to be fielded for elections.

However, the tribunal ruled that the allegations of substantial non-compliance with the electoral law in the conduct of the elections were not sufficiently proven by the petitioners in their case.

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The panel also ruled that the magistrate court, in its judgment, nullified its earlier conviction of Eno and that once a judgment is nullified, it ceases to exist.

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