Supreme Court yesterday gave reasons why it set aside the judgment of Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Tribunal and that of the appellate court in a petition filed by All Progressive Congress, APC and its candidate, Chief Umana Umana in the state governorship election.
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nwaeze and unanimously endorsed by the seven man panel,the petitioner made allegations of criminal acts but could not prove it beyond reasonable doubt and that the lower court curiously used a newspaper report to decide on criminal acts, thereby misconceiving the grounds of the appeal of the APC and its candidate
According to him, the law is settled that disenfranchisement must be proved polling units by polling units .
The court also held that there was a wrong reliance on the petitioner witness number 48 by the lower court to decide that there was disenfranchisement of voters in 18 of the 32 local governments in Akwa Ibom state ,even though the said witness admitted that he was not at his polling unit at the time of the polls .
The court also held that the over generalization that there was anarchy in Akwa Ibom state during the polls was wrong because the Nigerian police report of the polls largely contradicts that of the witnesses which were relied upon by the court .
Justice Centus Nwaeze held that the two lower courts metamorphosed into an inquisitory forum shopping for skirmishes even though there was no demonstration in court.
The apex court held that the judgment by the tribunal and the appellate courts were not consistent with the law and are accordingly set aside
Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel had challenged the nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal which in Abuja ordered a fresh election in all the lo¬cal government areas of the state.
The Appeal Court cancelled the entire April 11, 2015 governorship election that produced Governor Em¬manuel of the Peoples Democratic Par¬ty on account of gross irregularities in the election.
Consequently, the court in a unani¬mous judgment ordered that a fresh election be conducted within 90 days in compliance with the Electoral Act 2010.
Delivering judgment in an appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Umana Okon Umana, the appellate court set aside the judgment of the state election petition tribunal delivered Oc¬tober 21, which nullified the election in 18 out of the 31 local government areas of the state.
A panel of five justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Oludotun- Okojie held that, having established that the irregularities in the election were state wide, the tribunal ought not to have spared the remaining 13 local government areas.
The appellate court justices held that the evidence from all parties showed that there was no collation during the purported election and as such, elec¬tion cannot be said to have been con¬ducted under that circumstances.
Jutice Oludotun-Okojie also said that the non substantial compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election, entitled the lower tribu¬nal to have nullified the entire election held in the state.
According to the court, there was no dispute that the votes cast on the elec¬tion day exceeded the number of ac¬credited voters for the election, adding also that in the face of the malpractices, Governor Emmanuel could not have been said to have scored the majority of the lawful votes cast.
According to her, while 437, 128 voters were accredited for the elec¬tion, over 1, 222, 885 votes were said to have been cast, showing an excess of 685, 780 votes accredited for the poll.
From simple arithmetic, no one needs a soothsayer to conclude that there was over-voting in the entire elec¬tion in the state.
The APC governorship candidate, Umana Okon Umana had appealed against the judgment of the state gov¬ernorship election petition tribunal, which on October 21 cancelled the poll in 18 and upheld election in the remaining 13 local government areas in the state.
In the appeal argued by his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Uma¬na prayed the court for cancellation of the entire election, in view of the fail¬ure of the Independent National Elec¬toral Commission, INEC to comply with the Electoral Act and guidelines for the election.
He said INEC’S document showing over-voting was not disputed by any of the parties in the matter.

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