Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, yesterday, struck out the petition of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and its gubernatorial candidate, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, that challenged the re-election of Chief Godswill Akpabio as governor of the state.
The three-member tribunal presided over by Justice Ayuba Kwajafar, in a unanimous decision, struck out the petition based on the recent Supreme Court judgment which affirmed that election matters must be disposed of within the constitutionally stipulated 180 days.
Counsel to Governor Akpabio, Barr. Aniefiok Dennis and Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, told newsmen that the tribunal had no option but to abide by the constitutional provisions.
Barr Dennis said the judgment was no surprise since the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling on Borno State clearly made it obvious that the petitions from the April 2011 governorship elections had exceeded their lifespan since November 2011 as provided in Section 285(6) of the constitution.
Reacting, Governor Akpabio said he had never been distracted by the petitions, as he always remained focused on transforming the lives of his people.
This he said was evident in the recent award of contract for an ultra-modern terminal building at the Akwa Ibom International Airport, the soon to commence work at an Olympic-size stadium in Uyo, the on-going multi-lane third ring road, and several other roads network in the state.
Akpabio said with the dismissal of the case, he would re-double his efforts to reposition Akwa Ibom like never before.
Akpabio extends olive brance
Governor Akpabio posited that there was time for everything and as such the time had come for an end to the battle by the opposition in the state, even as he invited them to join him in his transformation revolution in the state. He added: “I will be very glad to integrate them into the polity.”
The state Commissioner for Information, Aniekan Umanah, on his part said it was victory for the people of Akwa Ibom State, adding that Akpabio’s judicial victory was an affirmation of the overwhelming mandate given to him by the generality of the people of the state.
Also speaking, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem, who led thousands of supporters around the streets of Uyo, told reporters that the ruling meant the governor and everyone would now focus on contributing to the development of the state. He said: “Those of us who used to attend the tribunal will now remain in our offices for more important issues, and our responsibilities and assignments will receive attention”