The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the governorship election held in Akwa Ibom State won by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Emmauel Udom.
The judgement was delivered on Friday in Abuja by the lead judge, Justice Adedotun Adefope.
In the judgement, the five-man panel also ordered a fresh election in Akwa Ibom, hinging their decision on what they called substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The judgement came nearly two months after the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petition Tribunal nullified elections in 18 local governments and ordered a re-run.
After the judgement of the Tribunal headed by Justice Sadiq Umar, on October 21, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the April 11 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Umana Umana, filed an appeal at the appellate court in Abuja, challenging the judgment of the Tribunal.
The APC and Mr Umana faulted the Tribunal’s judgment on grounds of ‘miscarriage of justice and turning upside down, the head of the natural justice’.
The two appellants asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal in relation to the validation of election results in 13 local government areas of the state.
According to them, by nullifying elections in 18 out of 31 local government areas, Section 179(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution, which required that a candidate vying for the office of the Governor would be declared winner if he gets not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of the local government areas, has been breached.
They claimed that the Tribunal erred in not nullifying the election of Governor Udom of the PDP in its entirety since he did not meet the mandatory number needed to retain his seat.
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