Akwa Ibom APC: We will appeal Governorship Tribunal’s verdict because we expected outright cancellation

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday said it would appeal against the judgement of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Akwa Ibom.
The Chairman of the party in the state, Dr Amadu Atai, announced this to newsmen in Uyo.
The three-member tribunal, presided over by Justice Sadiq Umar, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct re-run election in the affected 18 local governments.
But, Atai would have none of that, insisting that that party was expecting outright cancellation of the governorship election since it nullified the elections in 18 out of the 31 local government areas.
“The tribunal has cancelled the governorship elections in 18 local government areas and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct elections in the affected areas.
“But we are going to file an appeal because we expected cancellation in more local government areas where discrepancies were pervasive”, he said.
The Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr Paul Ekpo, however, said that the judgement was confusing.
Ekpo said the only good thing about the judgement was that the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, remained in office.
He said the party would review the judgement, adding, “the judgement is very confusing except that my governor, who had won the election overwhelmingly in the state, still remains the governor.
The tribunal gave the order while delivering judgement in a petition filed by the APC and its candidate in the April 11 election, Umana Okon Umana, seeking the nullification of the election of the governor.
Some of the affected LGAs in the judgment included Eket, Uyo, Onna, Nsit-Ibom, Nsit-Ubium, Ibimo, Ibeksibo, Nsit-Atai, Etinam and Oron.
Justice Sadiq, who read the judgement, said the tribunal upheld the testimonies of the petitioners’ witnesses that election did not hold in the affected councils.
Sadiq said the testimony of one of the witnesses, Mr Don Etiebet, a former member of the PDP Board of Trustees, was convincing and reliable to the effect that election did not hold where he voted.
The judge held that the allegations of irregularities and non-availability of election materials in the affected LGAs were also proved by the petitioners.
Reacting to the decision, counsel to the petitioners, Solomon Umoh (SAN), said the judgement was a victory for democracy.
On his part, counsel to the governor, Paul Usoro (SAN), said they would study the content of the judgement and decide on the next line of action.
It will be recalled that the petitioners had asked the tribunal to nullify the April 11 election on the ground that it was marred by irregularities.

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