Akpan Umoh, Uyo
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, on Friday struck out the petition filed by Mr Jeremiah Akpan, governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the governorship elections held on March 18 in Akwa Ibom.
Justice Buetnaan Mandy, of the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, who read the unanimous judgement on behalf of two others, dismissed the petition on grounds of incompetence as it was not in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
The petitioner, Jeremiah Akpan of Action Alliance had approached the tribunal on the grounds that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to upload his name on its official website as a candidate for the election.
In his reaction to the judgement, Counsel to INEC, Dr Ethelbert Ezeh, applauded the judgement of the tribunal.
Ezeh said that the complaint of exclusion by the petitioner was no longer grounds for a petition in the Electoral Act 2022.
“The Judgement was in our favour and a well-considered one at that matter.
“We thank His Lordship for the industry exhibited in the judgement and we are grateful to the Almighty God and to the Commission, who also give us this opportunity to represent them.
“Exclusion as it stands now is no longer one of the grounds for election petition in Nigeria by the provision of Electoral Act 2022.
“Before now, it used to be one of the grounds but it is no longer one of the grounds in the present Electoral Act 2022.
“And on that ground, the tribunal found that the petition was incompetent and that is why it was dismissed,” Ezeh said.
However, Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Nkereuwem Akpan, said that he was not satisfied with the judgement, adding that he would study the judgement and advise his client accordingly.
“We will study the judgement and advise our client. We are not satisfied with the judgement and will appeal the judgement in the Court of Appeal,” he said.
Also reacting to the judgement, the petitioner, Akpan said that INEC excluded his name from the ballot in the just concluded governorship election held on March 18 in Akwa Ibom.
Akpan said he secured an Appeal Court order mandating INEC to upload his name in the governorship election but INEC refused, thereby misleading the people on election day.
“We came to the Court because we believe in our Judiciary process and our democracy, but justice has not been done today.
“We have a court order from an Appeal Court, mandating INEC to upload my name and INEC refused. By that singular act misleading the people on the election day.
“I came down here so that the court will decide and I am not satisfied with the judgement, though I respect their views, I will be heading to Appeal Court,” Akpan said.