The election of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has been upheld by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the state capital.
The petitioners, Obong Nsima Ekere and the All Progressives Congress had on May 29, 2019, filed a petition challenging the result of the March 9 elections that saw the re-election of Emmanuel as the governor of the state.
While delivering his judgement on Thursday, the chairman of the three-man panel, Chief Justice A. M Yusuf, noted that the petitioners failed to call witnesses in eight (8) local government areas out of the twenty one (21) local government areas where they claimed to have won, stressing that documentary evidence however daring cannot be thrown on the Tribunal without oral evidence linking the documents to the issues in the case (petition).
The court further noted that the documents submitted by the petitioners were not linked to any parts of the petition and that most of them were mere photocopies of public documents and not the required Certified True Copies of the documents;
The court also noted that the petitions lacked merit and the Petitioners were not able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubts.
“The onus is on the Petitioner who alleges irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 to prove same. That the Petitioner failed in the discharge of such burden;
“The Petitioners could neither prove non-compliance nor substantial non-compliance to lead to a cancellation of the elections. For the Petitioner to have complained of non-compliance and irregularities in elections in 799 polling units and only end up calling 43 was grossly inadequate to satisfy the burden of proving non-compliance and irregularities with the provisions of the Electoral Act which requires a unit by unit prove, by law.” Part of the judgement reads.
In the end, the three man panel, unanimously upheld the election of Mr Udom Emmanuel at the March 9, 2019 elections and dismissed the petition of Obong Nsima Ekere and the All Progressives Congress, APC.