The Supreme Court has given its reasons for affirming the election of governor of Akwa Ibom state, Emmanuel Udom, Leadership reports.
The apex court also gave reasons why it upheld the elections of Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; Yobe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam and that of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa in the April 11, 2015 governorship elections held in their various states.
Giving the reasons for the judgment of the apex court delivered on February, 2, the seven-member panel of Justices of the court, headed by Justice Walter Onnoghen said the appeals against the election of the governors lacked merit.
While giving reasons for affirming the election of Governor Udom, the court held that petitioner in the case failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
The court said the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Umana Umana, who are appellants before the court, could not prove the allegation of criminal acts against the respondents beyond reasonable doubts as required by law.
The court also stated that allegation of dis-enfranchisment must be proved polling unit by polling unit, which the seven-member panel of justices of the apex court said was not done by the petitioners.
The court also held that there was a wrong reliance on the petitioners’ witness number 48 by the lower court to decide that there was dis-enfranchisement of voters in 18 out of the 32 local governments areas 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 there was over generalization in the fact that there was anarchy in Akwa Ibom stage during the polls which 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 Nweze, who gave the reasons of the court 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 judgments by the tribunal and the appellate court were not consistent with the law and are accordingly set aside.
In the case of the appeal by Senator Rashidi Ladoja of the Accord Party, challenging Ajimobi’s victory in the election in Oyo State, the court held that the appeal was dismissed for constituting an abuse of court process and lacking in merit.
The court, in its reasons for the February 2, 2016 judgment said Ladoja and his party could not prove the allegation of misconduct and gross violation of Electoral Act which they claimed marred the election that produced Ajimobi as governor of Oyo state beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.
In the court’s reasons for affirming the election of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State, the court held that the appellants failed to prove the criminal allegations levelled against the governor, adding also that the Yobe State Election Petition Tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain the criminal allegation.
Reasons given by the apex court’s judgment in upholding the election of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State include, among other things, the in-ability of the petitioners to prove the allegation of irregularities, malpractices and violations of Electoral Act, which they claimed marred the April 11, 2015 polls in which Okowa emerged winner.