Election Tribunal: Court Adjourns for Judgement on petition against Rt. Hon. Udo K. Akpan
… Court may be bound by their Judgement on EPT/AKS/HR/02
The National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital adjourned proceedings from today, September 13, 2019 to a later date to be announced by the court, for Judgement.
This came after parties in the petition adopted their final written addresses in the petition filed by one Mr Noah Noah and the All Progressives Congress, against the re-election of Rt. Hon. Udo K. Akpan as the member representing Oruk Anam state Constituency at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
In adopting their respective addresses, the parties who had very limited time adumberated on their written addresses and made their respective prayers before the court. The Respondents argued that the March 9 elections was free, fair and credible for the Oruk Anam state Constituency seat and thereupon urged the court to uphold the election of Rt. Hon. Udo K. Akpan as valid and further that the elections as conducted by INEC was in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended. The Respondents pointed out the contradictions in the evidence of the Petitoners and prayed the court to resolve the contradictions in favour of the Respondents.
Utibe Nwoko, of counsel to the 2nd Respondent in making his submission on the wrong heading of the court which he said was contrary to Section 285(1) urged the court to rely on its own Judgement in the case of EPT/AKS/HR/02, All Progressives Congress v. Hon. Patrick Ifon, PDP, decided on September 11, 2019 where the court held that the wrong heading of the court robs it of jurisdiction and renders the petition incompetent. In that case, the Petitoners had christened the court, Akwa Ibom State Election Petition Tribunal against the correct heading as provided for under Section 285(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The section establishes the National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal and vests it with jurisdiction to determine all issues arising from election of persons into the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly, to the exclusion of all other courts.
The Petitoners on their side urged the court to uphold the petition and nullify the elections of Rt. Hon. Udo K. Akpan and order a re-run of the elections. They insisted that there was no accreditation at the election and therefore that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act. This he argued, notwithstanding the position held by the supreme Court in Andrew v. INEC that the ticks on the voter register were not sacrosanct in proof of accreditation at elections.
The court on hearing the arguments of all parties adjourned for Judgement on a date to be later communicated to the parties.