Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won the challenge against his victory at the April 2015 election from the candidate of the All Progressive Congress in the state, Umana Umana at the election tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Details of the ruling are below:
1. Tribunal rules that the petitioners were unable to demonstrate that card reader alone can be relied upon for accreditation throughout the state. The use of card reader cannot be used contrary to the express provision of the law as conferred on INEC.
2. Tribunal rules that INEC press release cannot override section 41 of the Electoral Act on accreditation. The card reader was not contemplated by section 49 of the Act on accreditation.
3. Tribunal holds that it was satisfied that election held in all the polling units in the state. It further holds that the election substantially complied with the provisions of the law and therefore resolves that the 1st respondent scored the highest number of valid votes cast.
4. Tribunal holds that presumption of regularity is in favour of INEC. The experts called by Obong Umana are not experts as they denied being so, therefore, they cannot express opinion as ordinary witnesses as the Evidence Act does not allow such by the Evidence Act only expert opinions are admissible. PW49 evidence fails as he is not an expert and could not even demonstrate how he came about his finding.
5. Tribunal holds that all the experts’ evidence fail as none of them qualifies as such.
6. Tribunal holds that the petitioners should have tendered the ballot papers scanned.That assuming it relies on the ballot papers scanned and alleged to have been invalid, the 1st respondent would have still won with a wide margin votes.
7. Tribunal holds that right to vote is a constitutional guaranteed right and nobody should be disenfranchised. It says there was disenfranchisement of voters in some PUs in the state and sequel to this the election in Uyo LGA was inconclusive. Election in Ibesikpo Asutan LGA was also inconclusive.
8. The Tribunal ordered a re-run in 18 of the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State. APC faithfuls express sadness as they believe the re-run will not unsit Governor Udom who has already won, by this ruling, in the 13 Local government areas.