On Friday, the Uyo-based Governorship Election Petition Tribunal dismissed the appeal submitted by Mr. Jeremiah Akpan, the Action Alliance (AA) candidate for governor in the March 18 election in Akwa Ibom.
The petition was dismissed for lack of competence because it did not comply with the Electoral Act 2022, as read by Justice Buetnaan Mandy on behalf of the other two members of the tribunal.
Petitioner Akpan went to the tribunal because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wouldn’t post his name as a candidate for election on its website.
In response to the tribunal’s ruling, INEC’s legal counsel, Dr. Ethelbert Ezeh, said, “Exclusion as it stands now is no longer one of the grounds for election petition in Nigeria by the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.”
However, Nkereuwem Akpan, petitioner’s counsel, remarked, “We will study the judgement and advise our client.” We will be appealing the decision at the Court of Appeals because we are not happy with it.
“We came to the court because we believe in our judiciary process and our democracy, but justice has not been done today,” said the petitioner. INEC has ignored a court order from the Court of Appeals ordering them to submit my name for voting. I came here because of that one instance of voter deception on election day, and while I appreciate the court’s decision, I disagree with it. I plan to go to the Court of Appeals.”
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