By Philips Sunday.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the winner of the Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial election, Udom Emmanuel, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Udom, who secured partial victory at the election tribunal earlier today when 18 out of the 31 local government area elections was cancelled, has been ordered to leave the office by the Court.
The election was challenged by the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidate Umana Okon Umana in the April 11 poll, stressing that he won in all the 31 local government areas in the state.
The five man panel paid deaf hears to Udom’s argument, insisting that the elections be cancelled. 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 Court of Appeal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct fresh election in the state within 90 days.