The Akwa Ibom State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo on Friday struck out the petition of Young Peoples Party (YPP) filed by its governorship candidate Senator Bassey Albert and upheld the election of Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the validly elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
In suit number EPT/AKW/GOV/01/2023 which seeks to nullify the elections of pastor Umo Eno, the tribunal upheld preliminary objections concerning jurisdiction and non-qualification of Eno. It declared that he was eminently qualified and that the earlier judgement of the Supreme Court in the case filed against him by Mr Akan Ekpe Okon was binding to all human beings, in the world, including the petitioners.
The unanimous judgement read by the panel chairman, Justice Adekunle Adeleye blamed the petitioners for abuse of judicial process in resurrecting the matter already buried by the Apex Court.
The tribunal also decided that the petitioners lacked the locus to challenge how the 3rd Respondent, PDP conducted its primaries to produce a candidate.
In striking out the accusations of electoral infractions levelled against Hon. Iniobong Robson Nnamso, the tribunal ruled that the said person was not joined as a respondent in the case by the petitioners and any decision taken under such circumstances would amount to a lack of a fair hearing.
On another WAEC certificate of 1998, which the petitioners said belonged to pastor Umo Eno, the Tribunal upheld the objection that it was a fresh allegation that was not in the main petition since the time for amendment of petitions had long elapsed.
He said the petitioners were merely attempting to spring surprises, which run contrary to the provisions of the law.
Delivering judgment, the Tribunal further ruled that Pastor Umo Eno did not present a forged WAEC certificate as 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.
“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 Petitioner 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 a kettle black,”
Reacting to the judgement, Eno said the victory is dedicated to God and the Akwa Ibom people.
Eno appreciated the Judiciary for the patriotic service as they safeguard and consolidate democracy in Nigeria adding that his faith in the judiciary remains solid.
“Today, the Elections Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, following the earlier dismissal of the petitions brought by the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), Governorship Candidate, John James Akpanudoedeghe, Architect Ezekiel Nya Etok, of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Akpan Jeremiah of the Action Alliance, Emem Coffie of the Accord Party, Obong Akan Udofia of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) and today, Distinguished Senator, Obong Bassey Albert Akpan, of the Young Progressive Party, (YPP) again unanimously affirmed my victory as the duly elected Governor of our great State.
” I dedicate this victory to you, the people of Akwa Ibom State, who on March 18th, 2023, came out and massively voted for me to usher in the Golden Era in continuation of the giant strides we have experienced in this State, 36 years after creation.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank and celebrate the Nigerian judiciary for their patriotic job to safeguard and consolidate our democracy. My faith in this critical institution remains rock-solid”. he said