By Jerry Francis
Condemnations have continued to trail the recently reported decision of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to challenge the recent judgment of the court of Appeal at the Supreme Court.
The Appeal Court which sat in Abuja had last December, nullified Governor Udom’s election, citing massive irregularity and ordered that a fresh governorship election be conducted across the state within ninety days.
The 2015 Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Obong Umana Okon Umanah, had challenged the decision of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which had earlier cancelled elections in eighteen out of thirty One local government areas of the state.
Challenging the tribunal’s decision to uphold the People’s Democratic Party’s victory at the April 26, 2015 polls, Obong Umana, through his lead Counsel, Wale Olanikpekun (SAN) had contended that the alleged electoral malpractices was widespread across the state, hence the appellate court should nullify the entire election.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal unanimously held that having established that electoral irregularities was statewide, the tribunal ought to have nullified the entire election.
The five-man Panel led by Justice Oludotun-Okojie further noted that since no one had disputed the allegations of over-voting in the purported election, the appellant has consequently proven that it was conducted in substantial violation of the Electoral Acts and other relevant rules, and therefore cancelled same, ordering a fresh election to be conducted in the state within 90 days.
Reacting to the ruling, Deacon Udom Emmanuel had said that he and his party, the PDP, would challenge the appeal court’s ruling at the apex court.
Udom, who noted during the last Christmas Carol Festival organized by the state government that “God is not a God of Appeal but a Supreme God”, maintained he would seek the upturning of the judgment at the Supreme Court.
But in a swift reaction, a one-time governorship aspirant in the state, Obong (Dr) Akpan Daniel berated Udom’s move, describing it as an exercise in futility.
Obong Akpan, who was responding to questions from journalists in Uyo said Udom’s decision to challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court was a calculated attempt to continuously waste the state’s resources on frivolities.
He said: “That (Appeal Court) judgment was and is still a resounding one. This is the first time a court would deliver a judgment that cannot be doubted even by the loser. The most important aspect of the judgment is that the court has been able to create the platform upon which the judgment is based. And that platform is that there were glaring evidences of over-voting which has not been argued by the loser, Udom himself. So what is his basis of going to the Supreme Court?”
Speaking further on the right of appeal lying for the Governor he said “it is not every right that one must explore, especially, when it has to do with spending the resource of the state. I mean the tax-payers’ money.
Remember that Udom and his party have been boasting that even though the election is conducted hundred times they will win hundred times. So why are they going to the Supreme court to waste the state’s resource”.