By TONY NYONG
UYO—The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal of Akwa Ibom State, sitting in Uyo, yesterday, insisted on hearing the petition brought before it by Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, against Governor Godswill Akpabio of the PDP on merit.
The tribunal in its ruling said its decision was influenced by the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court on a similar matter which ordered the retrial of the matter based on merit rather than technicalities.
In view of the ruling, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Ayuba Kwajafasha, fixed Febuary 9, for pre-hearing on the matter and urged counsel to both parties to file their applications for any contending issue on the matter before the date.
Speaking with journalists at the court’s premises, counsel to Governor Akpabio, Duro Adeleye (SAN), said he would consult with his client to decide the next step to take on the matter, just as he declared that they were not afraid of the ruling.
Senator Akpan Udoedehe who was the governorship candidate for the ACN and his running mate, Dr. Ime Sampson Umanah in the April 26 governorship election in the state, had petitioned to the tribunal and challenged the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare Godswill Akpabio of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the said poll.