By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the March 9, 2019 House of Assembly elections for Uruefong\Oruko state constituency, Akwa Ibom state, Mr Aniefiok Omen Bassey, has petitioned the National Judicial Commission (NJC) and President of the Appeal Court, alleging that election petition tribunal erred in delivering the ruling in favour of his opponent, Asuquo Archibong, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
In his petition Bassey alleged that Archibong, was not qualified to stand as a candidate in the election, citing discrepancies in age and academic qualifications, which he claimed were deliberately falsified to meet the requirements as spelt out by the Electoral law.
The petition is entitled: A case of alteration\falsification of records of court proceedings in petition no: EPT\aks\SHA\2019 at the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, now listed as Appeal no; CA\C\NAEA\SHA\448\2019, and addressed to the NJC and Appeal Court President.
Bassey alleged that the tribunal failed to consider this ground as an essential factor in delivering the judgment, stressing that such omission forced him in alliance with the leadership of his party, the APC to petition the matter to NJC and the leadership of the Appeal Court in Nigeria.
Part of the petition reads: “Upon the declaration of my opponent, Asuquo Edet Archibong of the PDP as the winner of the election (House of Assembly), I filed a petition before the tribunal on March 29, 2019, challenging the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Beyond stating the irregularities which marred the conduct of the election in an attempt to prove substantial non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2019 (as amended), my petition focused on the issue of falsification of information in form CF001 to aid his qualification for the election and accordingly prayed the tribunal to declare me the winner of the election on that basis”.
But speaking to newsmen on the matter yesterday, Mr Archibong dismissed the allegation describing it as clear blackmail aimed at destroying his character and image because of politics and urged his supporters to disregard the allegation.
He said, “I never falsified my age nor the particulars of my certificate”, alleging that his APC opponent only brought the matter of age and certificate frauds as an afterthought as he never included such aspect in his petition to the tribunal.
“The same qualification I used in 2015 is the same qualification I used in 2019. He said he was my classmate and we wrote the school certificate examinations in 1996 and the result was not okay by me, I had to put in for another examination in 2014 still in the same school which I had the qualification I used in 2015.
“Now what is there in the Appeal, he is now saying that he wrote exams the same year with me and he is doubting how did I get to have another result in 2014 and used for election in 2019”.