• Thursday, May 30, 2024
businessday logo


Akwa Ibom: Tribunal strikes out NNPP/Udoedehe suit for lack of merit

The “Ruling” class

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo has thrown out the suit brought by the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), John James Akpan Udoedehe, challenging the election of Umo Eno of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Governorship election Panel, in a unanimous decision, concluded that the petition by John James Akpanudoedehe and his party against Governor Umo Bassey Eno, the PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deserved no less a verdict than dismissal for lacking in merit.

The governorship election petition by Udoedehe, a former senator, followed the defective trajectory of two previous cases dismissed by the tribunal two weeks ago, by virtue of the attempt to resurrect the subject matter of certificate forgery leveled against Governor Eno, which had previously been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Counsel to the PDP had told the tribunal that the petition was “most unambitious,” as the petitioners neglected and or refused to declare what they really wanted.

John Akpanudoedehe of the NNPP had in his arguments claimed that Eno was a convict by the Wuse Magistrate Court, Abuja, thereby robbing him of the qualification to have contested the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

Read also: Join me to build Ebonyi, Nwifuru tells opponents after tribunal judgement

He prayed the Tribunal to order that the election be cancelled, and a fresh one conducted within 90 days.

He also alleged that the governor was born in Enugu, even though he declined to show proof of this claim as he neither front-loaded nor relied upon any document to back it.

Surprisingly, of the over 5000 voting units in the state, the NNPP candidate called only two witnesses with himself as one of the two.

Under cross examination, the NNPP gubernatorial candidate admitted, when shown the enrolled order of the Wuse Magistrate Court repudiating its judgement orders, that he lacked knowledge of the existence of the order before his petition.

Counsel to the PDP and Umo Eno, had noted in their submission that the NNPP petition is most unambitious, as the petitioner has not only failed to prove the criminal allegation of forgery, but also failed to state what he wants.

The tribunal, presided over by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, ruled that lacking in merit, the petition had to be dismissed.

Reacting to the judgement, Counsel to the PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem told journalists that the judgement was in strong agreement with the position of the law.

Enoidem said the petitioners failed to prove that Pastor Umo Eno did not meet the constitutional entry requirements for office of the Governor, adding that most of their claims were pre-election matters which they could not also substantiate.