Elections Tribunal: PDP wins two more House of Reps seats in Akwa Ibom
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday won two more seats of the House of Representatives in the state.
The tribunal upheld the elections of Aniekan Umanah, representing Abak/Etim- Ekpo/ Ika federal constituencies and that of Patrick Ifon, for Eket/ Esit Eket/Ibeno and Onna federal constituency both of the PDP.
The APC petitioner for Abak/ Etim Ekpo/ and Ika, a two-time member of the House of Representatives, Emmanuel Ekon was challenging the election of Hon. Aniekan Umanah on two grounds that the election and return of the 1st Respondent, Hon. Aniekan Umanah is invalid by reason of non-compliance.
He also challenged the first respondent’s election on grounds he was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the February 23rd National Assembly election.
The Petitioners, however, prayed the court to cancel the elections and nullify the certificate issued to the 1st Respondent as the winner of the February 23 elections or in the alternative, declare the 1st Petitioner, Mr Emmanuel Ekon, as the winner of the said elections.
But while delivering judgement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Jennifer Ijohor, held that since the court had already determined a motion on the subject by dismissing the petitioner’s application in 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 the court held that the Petitioners did not prove non-compliance with the Electoral Act and further that the non-compliance, assuming the tribunal were to even consider that such was established in any little way, was not sufficient non-compliance such as could substantially affect the results of the elections.
The court further held that the evidence of all the ten witnesses of the Petitioners were insufficient to prove substantial non-compliance which is the only grounds that could lead the court to decide in favour of the Petitioner.
Words of the tribunal, “Proving non-compliance would require a unit by unit prove by the petitioner… consequently, the Petitioner’s attempt to use 11 polling unit agents to establish non-compliance in an election that covered over 200 polling units could achieve anything but never a proof for substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Act.
“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, the court consequently dismissed the case and ordered cost of 50,000 naira each to the 1st and 2nd Respondents.”