The judgement was delivered on Friday in Abuja by the lead judge, Justice Adedotun Adefope. The five-man jury in the judgement upheld the petition of the APC candidate in the April 11th election Umana Umana, who argued that the election of Governor Udom of the People’s Democratic Party did not comply with the rules of the electoral act. The court ordered a new election to be conducted within 90 days in Akwa Ibom centering their decision on what they defined as a substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The judgement came close to two months after the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petition Tribunal rendered elections in 18 local governments invalid and ordered a fresh one.
Mr Umana Umana, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the April 11 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State filed an appeal at the appellate court in Abuja, questioning the judgment of the Tribunal following the judgement of the Tribunal headed by Justice Sadiq Umar, on October 21.
The APC and Mr Umana challenged the Tribunal’s judgment on grounds of ‘miscarriage of justice and turning upside down, the head of the natural justice’.
The two appellants questioned the appellate court to compare the judgment of the Tribunal in relation to the validation of election results in 13 local government areas of the state.
They stated that by rendering the elections in 18 out of 31 local government areas null and void, it entails that Section 179(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution, which demanded that a candidate vying for the office of the Governor would be sworn in as the winner, given that he gets not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of the local government areas, has been breached.
They also stated that the Tribunal faulted in not declaring the election of Governor Udom of the PDP in its entirety null and void since he did not conform with the mandatory number required to retain his seat.