Appeal Court sacks Akwa Ibom governor, Emmanuel; nullifies entire election

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has nullified the
Akwa Ibom State governorship election of April 11,
removing the declared winner, Udom Emmanuel,
from office.
Mr. Emmanuel’s election was challenged by the
candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Umana
Umana.
At the election tribunal, Mr. Emmanuel of the
Peoples Democratic Party, had secured partial
victory, with the election cancelled only in 18 out of
the state’s 31 local government areas.
The tribunal had ordered a rerun.
Mr. Emmanuel had challenged the ruling, insisting
he won in all 31 LGAs.
The APC candidate, Mr. Umana, also appealed
against the ruling, seeking a total nullification of the
election.
A five-man panel at the Court of Appeal on
Thursday dismissed Mr. Emmanuel’s argument, and
cancelled the entire election.
The appeal court said the tribunal was wrong in its
refusal to comply with section 179 (2) of the
Constitution.
The court said having agreed with the evidence of
principal witnesses, video evidence, and evidence
from state collation agents, the tribunal should have
concluded that there was no collation and that votes
were merely allotted.
“The question is, if there was no collation, can there
be said to be an election,” the court asked. “Indeed
where there was no collation of election, there
cannot be said to be an election.”
The tribunal was wrong in failing to nullify the entire
election, the court ruled, setting aside the
judgement of the tribunal in the 13 LGAs.
“The entire election is hereby nullified. The election
that brought Mr. Udom is hereby nullified,” it ruled.
The appeal court ordered the Independent National
Electoral Commission to conduct fresh election
within 90 days.

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