By TONY NYONG
UYO-The election of Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, was yesterday upheld by the governorship election tribunal sitting in Uyo, the state capital.
The Tribunal dismissed the petition by the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Mr John Akpanudoedehe.
Justice Adam Onum led panel had last Thursday, also dismissed another petition against Akpabio’s re-election by the candidate of the Progressive Action Congress, PAC, Mr Steve Ibanga.
Akpabio’s counsel, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo SAN, had challenged the competence of Udoedehe’s petition, arguing that the petition was incurably defective.
Ojo had argued that the Tribunal had been robbed of jurisdiction by the incompetent motion ex-parte brought by the ACN, requesting for the pre-hearing conference, adding that the failure of the petitioner to seek the leave of the Tribunal before bringing the motion ex-parte as required by the law had rendered the petition invalid.
He added that since the seven days required by the Electoral Act to bring the motion for pre-hearing notice had elapsed and the petitioner did not meet the requirement for the process, it meant there was no valid petition before the Tribunal and the processes brought by the petitioner should be dismissed.
Ojo had prayed the Tribunal to withdraw the order it made for the commencement of the pre-hearing conference on the basis of the motion ex-parte filed by ACN, since the leave of the Tribunal was not sought before the motion leading to the order was presented before the Tribunal.