……..as Court orders Ekere to pay Udom N500,000 as fine
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday, affirmed that Gov. Udom Emmanuel of the PDP was duly elected in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State.
Giving judgement in a appeal filed by APC’s candidate Nsima Ekere against the Tribunal Verdict which upheld the election of Gov. Udom, the Appellate court held that the petition was without merit.
In the Sept. 5 verdict by Tribunal which dismissed Ekere’s petition for wanting in merit, it held that the petitioner could not lead credible evidence to prove his claims that the elections were not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.
Upholding the election of Udom Emmanuel, the 5-man panel of the Appeal Court ruled on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.
The Appellate Court first affirmed the decision of the Tribunal rejecting a series of documents filed by the Petitioner at the Tribunal and held that the reasoning of the Tribunal were unassailable citing that the documents which were all public documents and therefore could not be admissible if they were not properly brought as Certified True Copies of the public documents sought to be tendered.
Furthermore, on whether the Tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioner did not lead credible evidence to prove their case, the Court of Appeal affirmed the Tribunal’s judgement and upheld the Tribunal’s findings on evidence.
The Appellate Court noted that out of the results of 21 Local Government Areas challenged, the Petitioner did not lead any evidence in prove of their case in eight (8) and led very scanty evidence which on cross examination were rendered very impotent in the other Local Governments where they made any effort to prove their claims.
The court again held that the decision of the Tribunal was unassailable on that score and therefore affirmed same.
The court also agreed with the Tribunal for not relying on documents dumped on the Tribunal by the Petitioners/Appellants without linking such documents to any of the issues raised and canvassed by the petitioner.
The court thereupon affirmed the victory of Gov. Udom Emmanuel as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State and awarded the cost of N500,000 in favour of the First Respondent to be paid by the Appellants.
The lead judgement was affirmed by all the other justices of the Court of Appeal.-NAN