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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