The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of Godswill Akpabio as senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
In a unanimous judgment, Justice Moshood Oredola, who led a three-man panel of justices of the court, held that the appellant failed to prove the allegation of irregularities and malpractices.
Mr. Oredola, therefore, dismissed the case for lacking in merit and upheld the decision of the lower tribunal which had endorsed the election.
The court also held that the oral evidence of appellant’s witness and that of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), successfully refuted the case of non-qualification alleged by the appellant.
The appellate court also said that Mr. Akpabio met the requirements of Section 65 (2) of the 1999 Constitution which clearly states that a person can only contest an election if he is a member of a political party and sponsored by it.
The court also held that evidence showed that there was no other candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West for PDP and as such it was clear that nobody was deceived as to the candidature of Mr. Akpabio.
“It is clear that the error in one of the nomination papers which contained Akwa Ibom North-East for Akpabio, instead of Akwa Ibom North-West, has been clearly and satisfactorily explained to the court without any ambiguity.
“It must be stated here that there could be mistake of fact and mistake of law and where there is remedy to be applied with law.
“The court must not hesitate to use appropriate law to resolve such mistake to the satisfaction of both parties.”
“In this case, the appellant made a case in the error contained in one of the nomination papers and the respondents especially Senator Akpabio and his party, PDP, successfully proved to the court beyond reasonable doubt.
“An error was made and the error was successfully corrected with oral and documentary evidences proved that the error was made in a good faith.”
“The electorate that trooped out to vote on March 28, 2015 to choose the leader of their choice to serve them in the senate must not be denied the benefits of their efforts simply because a mistake was made in one of the nomination papers,” the judge ordered.
Mr. Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, is the Minority Leader in the Senate.
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