The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Tuesday, adjourned for judgment in the petition filed by candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nsima Ekere, challenging the declaration of Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as winner of the governorship election in the state.
This was after all the parties in the matter adopted their written addresses. Counsel for the petitioner, J. S. Okutekpa (SAN) in his address urged the Tribunal to upturn the declaration of Emmanuel as winner, as he did not score the highest lawful votes cast during the election.
He said the election was marred with irregularities. He also asked the Tribunal to dismiss the addresses by counsel to the respondents, Emmanuel, PDP and INEC, for failing to file their written addresses within their allotted time, stating that their documents failed to comply with rules of admissibility.
"We urge that all their replies should be struck out based on the grounds that they did not fall within the point of law, because they filed in a flagrant violation of the right of time which must be on the point of law only.
"My Lord, I rely on all the authorities cited by us in this petition, and in the interest of justice, I urge this Tribunal to nullify the election of Emmanuel on several grounds that we have elaborated in our petition, including none accreditation", said Okutepa.
However, Chief Onyekachi Okpeazu (SAN), counsel to Gov. Emmanuel, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
He drew the attention of the Tribunal to the judgement of the Supreme Count in SC/409/2019 PDP and Anor v. INEC and Ors delivered on the 24th May, 2019, saying the petitioner has not shown sufficient grounds to upturn the election of Emmanuel.
Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), counsel to the second respondent (PDP), urged the Tribunal to expunge the documents challenged by the second petitioner (APC). He pleaded with the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for being vague in totality. He cited additional authorities in support of his position.
Sylva Ogwemo (SAN), counsel to INEC prayed the court to uphold their argument, discountenance the argument of the petitioners and dismiss the petition, because of the apparent, unclear, irreconcilable contradictions in the petition. He, with the leave of the Tribunal, held that an analysis of facts leading to a conclusion in Law is a point of Law.
After listening to the submissions of counsel, the Tribunal thanked all parties for their peaceful conduct during the hearing and subsequently adjourned till a date to be communicated to them for judgment.
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