By Morgan Ekanem /Borono Bassey/Emmanuel Sam
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar today, November 13, 2019, has affirmed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State.
The Appeal was filed against the judgement of the Tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019, at Uyo, which dismissed Mr Ekere‘s Petition for wanting in merit. The Tribunal had held that the petitioner could not lead credible evidence to prove his claims that the elections were not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
Delivering judgement in the Appeal filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the re-election of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in the March 9, 2019, Gubernatorial Elections, the five-man panel gave her judgement on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.
The Appellate Court first affirmed the decision of the Tribunal rejecting a series of documents filed by the Petitioner at the Tribunal and held that the reasoning of the Tribunal were unassailable citing that the documents which were all public documents and therefore could not be admissible if there were not properly brought as Certified True Copies of the public documents sought to be tendered.
Furthermore, on whether the Tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioner/Appellant did not lead credible evidence to prove their case, the Court of Appeal affirmed the Tribunal’s judgement and upheld the Tribunal’s findings on evidence. The Appellate Court noted that out of the results of twenty-one (21) Local Government Areas challenged, the Petitioner did not lead any evidence in prove of their case in eight (8) and led very scanty evidence which on cross-examination were rendered very impotent in the other Local Governments were they made any effort to prove their claims. The court again held that the decision of the Tribunal was unassailable on that score and therefore affirmed the same.
The court also agreed with the Lower Tribunal for not relying on documents dumped on the Tribunal by the Petitioners/Appellants without being linked by them to any of the issues raised and canvassed by the petitioner.
The court thereupon affirmed the Victory of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State from the gubernatorial elections held on March 9, 2019, and awarded the cost of 500,000 Naira in favour of the First Respondent to be paid by the Appellants.
The lead judgement was affirmed by all the other justices of the Court of Appeal.