Tribunal upholds Umo Eno's victory in Akwa Ibom
The tribunal held that the evidence against Eno lacked merit.
Udofia had challenged Pastor Umo Eno's election, alleging that Eno had presented forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and did not secure the highest number of valid votes.
He also accused Eno of having a criminal record, rendering him ineligible to contest.
However, the tribunal unanimously ruled in favor of Governor Umo Eno, asserting that the petitioners failed to substantiate their claims of electoral law noncompliance.
The tribunal clarified that the Abuja Magistrate Court's judgment nullifying Eno's conviction fell under the jurisdiction of the Abuja High Court and was not within its purview to determine.
Regarding Eno's qualifications, the tribunal referenced a previous Supreme Court ruling, confirming the authenticity of the WAEC certificates submitted to INEC.
The lead judgment, read by Justice Kadi Usman Sikudu, pointed out that the petitioners failed to identify an alternative certificate holder for the 1981 WAEC certificate in question.
Furthermore, the tribunal rejected evidence from a subpoenaed Interpol officer, who attempted to challenge Eno's WAEC results. The tribunal held that the evidence lacked merit.
The tribunal also dismissed claims that the PDP used public office holders inappropriately, ruling that such membership did not constitute a political office, and therefore, did not disqualify a candidate.
In their final decision, the tribunal determined that Udofia's petition lacked merit as it failed to establish any polling unit with noncompliance to electoral laws during the March 18 Governorship elections.
Additionally, the tribunal dismissed Udofia's challenge to the eligibility of Senator Bassey Albert, who came second in the election. They noted that there was a subsisting appeal by the convicted YPP candidate at the time of the election, rendering him eligible to contest.
The tribunal further ruled that Udofia, not being a member of the YPP, had no basis to challenge the party's choice of candidate.
It is important to mention that earlier petitions by Governorship candidates of the NNPP, Senator John James Akpan Udoedehe, and the ANC candidate, Ezekiel Nyaetok, were also thrown out by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for lacking merit.
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