The Court of Appeal, Calabar, has affirmed the judgement of the election petition tribunal that Udom Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom, was validly elected in the 2019 general election.
The appellate court in its judgement on Wednesday declared that the appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC), and its governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere, lacked merit and, therefore, dismissed the case.
Mr Emmanuel was a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is currently doing his second term.
The PDP in Akwa Ibom said the latest judgement was a confirmation of the “sanctity of the ballot”.
“In the well-considered judgement, the noble Lords of the penultimate court, held the Appeal was lacking in merit, agreeing with the tribunal that the APC did not lead credible evidence to prove their case and that they had dumped documents in the panel without linking them, as required by law,” Ini Ememobong, the PDP spokesperson in the state, said in a statement.
“By this judgment, the judiciary has again shown that justice is directed by law and not federal might, partisan colouration or other extra-legal dispositions. To this, we are deeply grateful to the court and wholeheartedly welcome the judgement.”
The PDP, in the statement, appealed to the APC, once again, to join hands with Mr Emmanuel to develop the state.
“To the opposition APC, we renew our call for partnership in the execution of the Akwa Ibom Project through the vehicle of the completion agenda of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“We acknowledge the zeal and emotional investments committed to the Governorship quest by Obong Nsima Ekere, an illustrious Akwa Ibom son, who rose to the exalted office of Deputy Governor through the instrumentality of our party. He has fought the fight, ran the race, but the results are not in his favour.
“We urge him to avoid the temptation of escalation of commitment and rather view the Akwa Ibom project as the cynosure and act in the benefit of the larger interest of the people,” the PDP said.
Mr Emmanuel has also appealed to the APC to join his government in building Akwa Ibom. “Together, we will continue to re-write our story,” the governor said on Twitter immediately after the appeal court delivered its judgement.
The APC is yet to react to the appeal court judgement.