Supreme Court gives reasons for upholding Udom Emmanuel’s election as Akwa Ibom governor

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed; Photo: Mahmud Mohammed

The Supreme Court on Monday gave reasons for affirming Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party as the validly elected governor of Akwa Ibom State.

Justice Chima Nweze, who gave the reasons, said the decision of the lower court was a mis-judgment based on only facts and not on the provisions of the laws.

Mr. Nweze said the decisions of the lower court was based on the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the use of card readers for the election.

He further held that the lower court denied the governor fair hearing.

“From the study of the evidence brought before us, Udom Emmanuel won the highest lawfully cast votes.

“This has placed the court to set aside the judgments of the two lower courts as the other parties challenging his victory could prove otherwise.

“The lower courts were wrong to have cancelled elections in 18 and subsequently the entire 31 Local Government Areas of the state on the basis of non-compliance.

“While we commend the introduction of the card readers, the innovation, however, cannot supersede the voters register.

“The extant laws of the federation provides for the use of voters register but the card reader, irrespective of its importance, does not have a place in any extant law of the land,” Mr. Nweze held.

Mr. Nweze, therefore, held that the tribunal was wrong to base its judgment on non-compliance with the use of card readers.

On allegation of violence and irregularities during the election, Justice Nweze said Umana Umana and the All Progressives Congress failed to prove the allegations.

“The two respondents were not able to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt because they failed to bring witnesses from all the polling units to substantiate their claims,” Mr. Nweze said.

Mr. Nweze held that to prove non-accreditation, the respondents ought to have tendered the voters register and then demonstrate how it was abused.

“I do align myself to earlier decision of the apex court that the provision of the law recognises the voters register as the only key element to conduct any elections,” he said.

While noting that INEC had power to make subsidiary regulations regarding conduct of election, Mr. Nweze held that the regulations must conform to constitutional provisions.

Mr. Nweze held that the extant laws did not give room for arbitrary nullification of an election.

“Petitioners have got to prove that there was substantial non-compliance in all polling units before we could take such allegation serious,” he said.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had nullified the Akwa Ibom governorship election of April 11.

The governor’s election was challenged by the APC and its candidate, Mr. Umana.

At the election tribunal, the governor secured partial victory, as it ordered a rerun in 18 out of the state’s 31 local government areas.

The governor challenged the ruling, insisting he won in all 31 local government areas, but the Court of Appeal went on to nullify the entire election.

Justices Mary Peter-Odili and Clara Ogunbiyi had given similar reasons to justify the return of Delta,Yobe and Oyo States governors.



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  • Nigerian s-court has restored our faith in our democracy with the attendant separation of powee. While the Executive is woefully corrupted and partisan, we look up to the Nigerian Apex Court to save our democracy. We’ll accept all decisions by our learned Jurists.

    • Jeoseph

      Learned indeed! Thank God you are in USA may God not allow you to have a call that stray bullets hit your relation from ballot box snatchers. There is no Tribunal or Appeal Courts in heaven, only Supreme and the owner of heaven might call them soon for review.

  • pst Alphonsus Duruji

    Excellent judgement, clear explaination for those who are biase, wisdom and experience are not picked from the main road, This judgement show how rich the judge is in wisdom and experience. God bless Nigeria, long live our judge.

    • e_orpheus

      Strong in the eyes of law, but falls flaccid in the eyes of justice.
      One does not go to court simply to test the law, one goes there to receive justice. If the law prescribes a voters register but remains silent about it being paper based or electronic and INEC decides that validation be done electronically, they are setting a sound precedent and it is up to the supreme court to help establish that precedent. When INEC conducts reruns and a piece of paper says 1000 registered and 1000 were accredited and the card reader says indeed 1000 registered but only 500 were accredited and another 150 were attempted but failed, which is to be believed?
      The supreme court is establishing a bad precedent as regards electronic registration and accreditation.
      About having one witness from each polling unit affected..that’s another story.

    • joe

      Another “pastor”!!! God save Nugeria from all these pastors.

    • Jeoseph

      And might be in monies after bank alert!

  • Gerald Okoduwa

    Cash and carry justice. Card Reader that brought a semblance of sanity to our electoral process falls under INEC operating manual which is for verification of the voter only. It is not the same as electronic voting. These Judges know that even the voters register is electronic covered by law. Many Nigerians saw the violence and videos of thumb printing of ballot papers that characterized that election. That your judgment is final does not make your lopsided verdicts to be right. This is corruption fight back to the core. Patriotic Nigerians will also recover the country’s temple of justice from you as we did with avowed looters of the nation’s wealth in March 2015.

  • favourtalk

    That is the confusing and lame reasons I have ever read in my life, do they even consider how many months the case used at the tribunal, appeal before getting to them and they even didn’t consider the lives lost due to the desperation of the PDP to govern at all cost I akwa ibom? Judiciary needs good clean up

    • Mayo

      Really? So the courts should not rule on facts and the current law, instead they should consider things like – the case has taken a long time to get to us, right?
      Secondly, while it is quite unfortunate that lives were lost, the current law says you have to prove that the non-conformance was substantial enough to affect the election. You talk as if there wasn’t loss of lives in some states won by APC or APGA.

  • Basketmouth

    The Supreme court relied on the law and not facts. In other words fact is not sacred in law. I think the fact of the law is expressed in justice. Now let me point out that there is nothing like non partisan judges. The supreme court judges are political animals and they have their political leanings too. In the US appointment of supreme court judges is a partisan endeavor between the republican and democrats and the reason is obvious. However in Nigeria the supreme court judges are fond of putting up faces as if they have no political interest. I submit that the political beliefs of the judges go a long way to influence their judgement even though they may not wear their political beliefs on their sleeves.

  • Felix Udoh

    This might be the position of the law but this is certainly not justice.