The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo on Thursday affirmed the election of Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as winner of the March 18, 2023, elections, News About Nigeria reports.
The Court, therefore, dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, APC, Mr Akanimo Udofia, challenging the Governor’s election.
The APC Candidate had approached the tribunal seeking for disqualification of Umo on the grounds that he presented forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He also prayed the court to nullify the election because according to him, Governor Umo did not score the highest number of valid votes in the March 18, 2023 Governorship elections.
Udofia also accused the Governor of not being qualified to run for the election because he was convicted by an Abuja Magistrate Court.
In its judgement, the tribunal, led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, unanimously held that the allegations of substantial noncompliance with the electoral law in the conduct of the elections were not sufficiently proven by the petitioner.
The court also held that the magistrate court in its judgment, nullified its earlier conviction of Pastor Umo Eno adding that “once a judgement is nullified, it ceases to exist.”
The panel, therefore, disagreed with the petitioner on the legality of the setting aside of judgment by the same magistrate.
“It is not the duty of the tribunal to determine if the decision of the magistrate court to upturn its own judgment was justified. That falls under the jurisdiction of the Abuja High Court,” the tribunal added.
The tribunal in their ruling also held that the Supreme Court had already determined that Eno was the authentic owner of the WAEC certificates he submitted to INEC.
The tribunal, therefore stated that the APC Candidate’s petitions lacked merits as he was not able to establish one polling unit in which there was non-compliance with the electoral law in the March 18 Governorship elections.