Akwa Ibom tribunal: Akpabio loses petition to Senator Ekpenyong

Akwa Ibom tribunal: Akpabio loses petition to Senator Ekpenyong

- Senator Godswill Akpabio's petition in the election petition tribunal has been dismissed

- The national and state House of Assembly election tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital sruck out Akpabio's petition

- There was, however, a dissenting judgement by 1 out of the 3 judges of the tribunal

The national and state House of Assembly election tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital on Wednesday, September 11 upheld the victory of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as the senator representing Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district.

Newly appointed minister of Niger Delta, Senator Akpabio, the 1st petitioner had challenged the elections on the ground that;

a) that Senator Christopher Ekpenyong was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the February 23, 2019 elections for the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district;

b) That the election that produced Senator Christopher Ekpeyong as winner was invalid owing to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the elections.

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The tribunal dismissed the petition of Senator Akpabio and also dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by all the respondents in the petition and resolved to settle the case on the merits.

The court ruling on the burden of proof held that burden of proof for proving substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act to ground a nullification of the election is on the petitioner and relying on the case of ANDREW v. INEC.

The tribunal thereupon held that the petitioner's evidence was too weak in all ramifications to prove non-compliance, not to mention substantial non-compliance, which is the only ground for nullification of the elections.

The tribunal further stated that the petition failed to bring any witness from the polling units and thus could not prove substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

The tribunal in the end, in a majority judgement of two justices dismissed the petition and upheld the declaration of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as the winner of the February 23, 2019 elections.

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There was, however, a dissenting judgement by 1 out of the 3 judges of the tribunal.

Similarly, the national and state Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Oyo state on Tuesday, September 10, upheld the victory of Senator Kola Balogun of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Oyo South Senatorial district in the February 23 National Assembly election.

The immediate past governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, had challenged the declaration of Balogun by INEC as the winner of the election.

The three-man panel of the tribunal chaired by Justice Anthony Akpovi, with Justice Sambo Daka and Justice Chinyere Ani as members, unanimously upheld Balogun’s victory.

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Source: Legit

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