The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, has affirmed the victory of Udom Emmanuel of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.
Naija News reports that the Appeal Court delivered the final judgment on Governor Udom’s Election on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.
This online news platform recalls that the appeal was filed against the judgment of the tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019 in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, which dismissed the petition of Nsima Ekere, the governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for wanting of merit.
Naija News reports that the election tribunal had ruled 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 judgment in the appeal filed by Ekere challenging Udom’s re-election in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, the five-man panel gave judgment on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.
The Appeal 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.
On whether the Tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioner/Appellant did not lead credible evidence to prove their case, the Appeal Court affirmed the Tribunal’s judgment and upheld the Tribunal’s findings on evidence.
The five-man panel of 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 ruled that the decision of the Tribunal was unassailable on that score and therefore affirmed same.
Naija News reports that the Court of Appeal 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 thereafter affirmed Udom’s election as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and awarded the cost of 500,000 naira in favour of the First Respondent to be paid by the Appellants.
Naija News understands that the lead judgment was affirmed by all the other justices of the Court of Appeal.