About 72 hours after a Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja nullified the election of Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a similar fate has befallen his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Udom Emmanuel.
The declaration of Emmanuel as winner of the April 11 governorship election in Akwa Ibom was challenged by the All Progressives Congress candidate, Umana O. Umana.
At the governorship election tribunal, Mr. Emmanuel of the PDP, had secured partial victory, with the election cancelled only in 18 out of the state’s 31 local government areas, where it ordered a rerun.
However, while Mr. Emmanuel 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.
Delivering judgment on the matter, a five-man panel at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, dismissed Mr. Emmanuel’s argument, and cancelled the entire election.
The court faulted the tribunal for refusing to comply with section 179 (2) of the Constitution.
The held that 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”, it added.
The tribunal was wrong in failing to nullify the entire election, the court ruled, setting aside the judgment of the tribunal in the 13 LGAs.
“The entire election is hereby nullified. The election that brought Mr. Udom is hereby nullified”, the Appeal Court ruled.
It also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct fresh election within 90 days.