Joe Effiong, Uyo
National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has upheld the election of Aniekan Umanah as the winner of the February 23 election to represent Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika federal constituency.
The petitioners, All Progressives Congress and Emmanuel Ekon, had challenged the election on two grounds to wit: That the election and return of the 1st respondent (Umanah) is invalid by reason of substantial non-compliance with Electoral Act; and that the 1st respondent, was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the elections.
They therefore, prayed the tribunal to cancel the elections and nullify the certificate issued to the 1st respondent or in the alternative, declare the 1st petitioner, Ekon, as the winner of the elections.
The court, in its ruling on a motion filed by the petitioner seeking to foreclose the respondents from defending the case on grounds that the respondents made a typographical slip on the process, held that since the court had already determined a motion on that subject by dismissing the petitioner’s application on July 9, 2019, the court could, not as now sought by the petitioner, sit on appeal over its decision.
The court, therefore, dismissed the motion of the petitioner and held that the respondents had a right to defend the case and that they had done so within the limits of the law.
On the merit of the case, the court, after a review of the evidence given by the witnesses and all documents before it, held that the petitioners having failed to prove substantial non-compliance, corrupt practices or that the 1st respondent did not win by majority of lawful votes cast at the elections, and consequently dismissed the case and ordered cost of N50,000 each in favour of the 1st and 2nd respondents.