The Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has upheld the election of Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the validly elected governor of the state.
The tribunal dismissed the suit numbered EPT/AKW/GOV/01/2023 and instituted by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan and his party, the Young Progressives Party (YPP), which sought to nullify the election of Eno.
The tribunal headed by Justice Adekunle Adeleye upheld the preliminary objections bothering on jurisdiction and non-qualification of the 2nd Respondent and declared that Eno was eminently qualified to run for election.
The tribunal held that the earlier judgement of the Supreme Court in the case filed against Governor Eno by Akan Okon was binding on all persons, and therefore, the petitioners erred by abusing the judicial process in resurrecting the matter already addressed 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.
The tribunal further ruled that Eno did not present a forged WAEC certificate, as the WAEC official summoned through a subpoena as PW10, authenticated the certificate, stressing that there was no legislation in Nigeria that a person’s name should be arranged in a particular order on a document since no other person holds claims to the said 1981 and 1983 WAEC certificates.
Also, the tribunal ruled that a witness PW16, one Daniel Edet Akpan, presented by Bassey Albert Akpan, as a staff of the University of Uyo, was an impostor.
According to the tribunal, the witness claimed to have been admitted as a student of the Quantity Survey of the University of Uyo in 1998 and graduated in 2021, spending over 22 years in the course.
The tribunal also wondered how a senior staff of a university, could not know the meaning of CONTISS, could not remember his telephone number, did not know his gross salary and take-home pay and came to the court with a mask and fez cap, an indication that he was hiding something.
On the whole, the tribunal dismissed the petition as frivolous and baseless and ratified the election of Eno as governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Eno’s lawyers expressed satisfaction with the judgement and called on all parties to support the governor to move the state forward.
However, counsel to petitioners, Tunde Olaola, said the tribunal is not the final bus stop as there was room for appeal.