September 16, 2011

April polls: Akpabio floors Udoedeghe at Appeal Court

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Calabar- The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, has dismissed the appeal by the governorship candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Akpan Udoedeghe, challenging the victory of Governor Godswill Akpabio in the last April governorship election.

The election petition tribunal in Akwa Ibom State had earlier dismissed the petition  by the ACN candidate against Governor Akpabio for non- compliance with the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.

Justice M. Oredola, who read the lead judgment,  affirmed the judgment of the lower tribunal, which dismissed the ACN petition for failure to comply with the Electoral Act 2010, as amended particularly, Paragraph 47 (1).

The Appeal Court dismissed the appeal in its entirety, saying “the lower tribunal cannot be faulted for invoking the provisions of the Electoral Act.”

The Court agreed with the decision of the lower tribunal, that the petition of the ACN candidate, was defective, as it failed to meet the provisions in paragraph 18 (4) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

On the ACN argument that the judgment of the lower tribunal was unsigned and therefore not authentic, the Appeal Court noted that they looked into the issue and requested the manuscript copy of the lower  tribunal judgment, which was made available to them and they confirmed the judgment as authentic and acceptable, having been signed by the majority of the judges.

Reacting to the judgment, ACN counsel, Mr. Dapo Akinosun, said it was a bitter pill to swallow but they will obtain a copy of the judgment and take a cursory look and take the next step.

He said, there is the possibility of approaching the Supreme Court to get the final decision over the issues in contention.

Governor Akpabio’s counsel, Duro Akinyele expressed satisfaction with the judgment. He said that it was a true representation of the position of the law, based on the constitution and the Electoral Act.