About a week after the Supreme Court verdict on the April 11, 2015, governorship election in Akwa Ibom State affirming Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the elected governor, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has rejected the judgment.
Accordingly, the party has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the judgment by instituting an inquiry into the various and widely held notion that the Supreme Court judgment was procured through huge financial inducements.
“We believe such enquiry is inevitable to address the possible consequences of the Supreme Court judgment which is bound to encourage resort to self-help, violence and all forms of illegality and barbarity in the quest for power.
“We believe that this purchased judgment from the Supreme Court does not reflect the president’s desire to weed corruption from our society,” the party stressed.
The position of the party was made public yesterday at the end of a one-day meeting of the elders, members and stakeholders of the party on the Supreme Court judgment of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Appeal.
Communique issued by the party after a rally held at Nsima Ekere field along Edet Akpan Archibong road signed by the state Chairman of the party, Dr. Amadu Attai, and Secretary, Chief Effiong Etuk ,was presented by the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ita Awak.
“We want to put on record our utter rejection of the judgment of the Supreme Court on the PDP appeal against the victory of the APC at the Court of Appeal in the state governorship election petition.
“We believe that the judgment of the Supreme Court is devoid of reason, logic and depth. The Supreme Court judgment is a dangerous act of political advocacy that completely ignores the uncontested and overwhelming evidence of the petitioners (Umana Okon Umana and APC) at the tribunal which had held that the petitioner had proved that there was no valid election in 18 of the 31 local government areas in the state.
“The Supreme Court equally rejected the findings of the Court of Appeal that established, based on over 340 documentary evidences and 50 witnesses, that there was no valid governorship election in all of the 31 local government areas in the state on 11 April 2015.
“Some of the evidences tendered by the petitioners, on which the tribunal and Appeal Court based their decisions include: mutilation of ballot papers and result sheets; lack of collation; over voting; signing of multiple result sheets by one agent and result sheets signed by people who were not agents.
“In addition to these evidences, our candidate and party had also tendered the reports of the United States Embassy; European Union; Nigerian Civil Society organisations and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) which stated that the governorship election in the state was marred by widespread irregularities and violence.
“Alluding to these evidences of violence and irregularities, the Hon. Justice Oludotun Adebola Adefope-Okojie, in her lead judgment at the Court of Appeal had stated emphatically: ‘I chip in a word of warning. May this country never again experience the violence and thuggery found to have taken place in the state during the governorship election held on April 11, 2015. Politics should never be so desperate that lives and decorum are sacrificed on the altar of winning at all costs. The descent into almost anarchy as occurred in this case must never again be allowed to take place. The supervising body, Independent National Electorl Commission INEC is charged at all times to remain on the side of truth and never be complicit in any subversion of due process.’
“We recall that the case of signing of result sheets in many wards by one person was also well established by the Court of Appeal based on evidence.
“In Mkpat Enin Local Government Area for instance, one Jerry Akpan signed the result sheets in all the 14 wards of the local government area.
“As rightly held by the Court of Appeal, Akpan couldn’t have been at all the wards simultaneously to sign these documents, a clear evidence that there was no collation at the wards, as we had also presented unchallenged evidence that there was no collation at the state level.
“In the light of the facts of our case and the overwhelming evidence as upheld by both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, we find the judgment of the Supreme Court to be weird, arbitrary and an inexplicable endorsement of violence and electoral fraud that was procured by the use of state power and resources for evil ends.
“We find it strange but instructive that on the judgment day, as soon as the Justices of the Supreme Court retired to their chamber to consider their judgment, the Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who is also the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, arrived obviously on cue at 8pm with a large contingent of praise singers, and proceeded to address PDP supporters within the court premises, telling them that ‘it was all over.
“With the shout of his supporters renting the air, Akpabio caused quite a stir as he swept into the courtroom in a frenzy of banters with PDP and Udom Emmanuel’s lawyers whom he equally assured by repeated stating:
“It is all over.” It was a display that totally called into question the integrity of the Supreme Court and vitiated its judgment on the Akwa Ibom governorship election petition appeal.
“Another unassailable evidence of the fraud that characterised the April 11 2015 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State is that Udom Emmanuel who was declared winner of the election had no explanation on how 437,128 accredited voters by card readers or 448, 307 accredited voters by voter’s register could validly produce 1,122,836 votes purportedly cast in the election, 996,071 of which were declared for Emmanuel.
“These were findings from certified true copies of INEC documents, which were upheld by the Court of Appeal. The case of over-voting and other irregularities were painstakingly established in 27 local government areas out of 31, with 2,982 polling units.
“In his pleadings, Emmanuel had said that he would tender incident forms to account for the excess votes, but they were never tendered, even though the incident forms were taken to Abuja from Uyo, because they were filled several weeks after the election and therefore could not be signed by the designated INEC staff. Nigerians should then ask the Supreme Court how it reached its findings that Emmanuel was lawfully returned in spite of this glaring evidence of over-voting and other mind-boggling irregularities,” the communique stated.