The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio has been defeated by the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Christopher Ekpenyong, in the National House of Assembly elections tribunal sitting in Uyo, the state capital.
The victory of Senator Ekpenyong in the February 23 elections was upheld by the court on Wednesday.
Senator Akpabio, the 1st Petitioner had challenged the elections on the ground that Senator Ekpenyong was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the February 23, 2019 elections for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
The newly appointed minister stated that the election which produced Senator Ekpenyong as the winner was invalid owing to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the elections.
He called on the court to declare him winner having scored the highest number of valid, lawful votes at the elections.
Justice W. Akanbi, the chairman of the tribunal, while delivering his judgement, dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by all the Respondents in the petition and resolved to settle the case on the merits, to wit.
The court stated that the evidence placed forward by the petitioners was to weal in all ramifications to prove non-compliance not to mention substantial non-compliance, which is the only ground for nullification of the elections.
The court further stated that the petitioner failed to bring any witness from the polling units and thus could not prove substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The court in the end, by a majority Judgement of two justices, dismissed the petition and upheld as valid the declaration of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as the winner of the February 23, 2019 elections.
There was, however, a dissenting Judgement by one out of the three judges of the Tribunal.