Tribunal Reserves Judgment In Petition Against Udom - AKS Guber

The Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has reserved its judgment in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Umana Okon Umana, challenging the victory of Governor Emmanuel Udom of the state at the polls.

Chairman of the tribunal Justice Sadiq Umar, reserved judgment following the conclusion of hearing of the petition.

At the adoption of the final brief of arguments, the petitioners lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, (SAN), urged the tribunal to nullify the election of Governor Udom on the ground that the petitioner had proved beyond reasonable doubt that there was no valid governorship election in the state in the last general election.

Olanipekun asked the tribunal to thoroughly look at the evidence and exhibits put at the disposal of the tribunal by the petitioners so as to arrive at a just conclusion in its judgment.

Tribunal Reserves Judgment In Petition Against Udom - AKS GuberUdom Emmanuel

However, Governor Udom through his counsel, Chief Paul Usoro, (SAN), pleaded with the tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety.

The governor’s counsel argued that the petitioner failed to establish the fact that there was no election as the petitioner gave evidence in less than fifty units out of over two thousand polling units in the state.

Besides, the counsel also submitted that the totality of evidence adduced by witnesses of the governor and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) confirmed that there was peaceful election in the state which produced clear winners in the person of Governor Emmanuel Udom.

The PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in their submissions buttressed the arguments of Governor Udom that election was conducted in the entire state and that it was peaceful and produced a clear winner.

PDP lawyer Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and INEC lawyer Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) therefore urged the tribunal to uphold the validity of the election of Governor Udom Emmanuel as expressed by the people of the state in their votes.

Earlier, the governor, PDP and INEC had argued three applications in which they asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition for being incompetent in contents and in nature.

The governor and his party asked the tribunal to throw out the petition on account of being unmeritorious as a result of the wrongful nomination of the running mate of the petitioner Mr. Benedict Ukpong.

They also asked the tribunal to reject the petition on the grounds of contradictions in the reliefs and prayers sought by the petitioner and the failure to use full identities of their witnesses.

At the resumed hearing, counsel to PDP Mr. Oyetibo (SAN) told the tribunal headed by Justice Sadiq Umar that the petition was not competent because the running mate to the petitioner Engr. Ukpong was not qualified for nomination by the APC at the time the petitioner’s did.

Specifically PDP alleged the deputy governor designated did not resign his appointment at the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as demanded by law.

The party claimed that as at the time the election was conducted in April, the APC deputy governor designate was still drawing salaries from FCDA in contravention of the Electoral Act 2010 and therefore asked the tribunal to on that ground dismiss the petition out-rightly.

In his own application, Governor Udom through his counsel Paul Usoro challenged the competence of the petition on the ground of contradictions in the reliefs sought by the petitioners.

Usoro told the tribunal that the petitioners were not consistent in the issues raised in the petition.