The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar has upheld the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State in the March 9, 2019 election.
The five-man panel presided over by Justice Adzira Gana Mshelia in a unanimous judgment agreed with the lead judgement read by Justice Tunde Awotoye.
The court also awarded a cost of N500,000 against the appellant, Nsima Ekere, of the All Progressives Congress in favour of the first respondent, Governor Udom.
The judgment read in part, “The appellants complained of irregularities in 756 polling units, they called a total of 43 witnesses, 17 of whom were polling agents. So in over 700 units complained about, the appellant did not lead any evidence of non-compliance alleged.
“It’s at the polling units that votes are cast. The primary evidence of a result of an election is the results from the polling units. The evidence adduced was not substantial enough to affect the result of the election. Any proven irregularity and non-compliance has not been shown to be broad-based, and substantial enough across the polling units in Akwa Ibom State, in order to result in the nullification of the entire election.
“It seems to be a fallacy, a delusion for the appellant to believe that the quality of the evidence he adduced established non-compliance and substantially affected the result of the election. The election had already been won and lost.”
The court also held that when the result of an election is being questioned, on the grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act, it does not suffice to prove non-compliance without more, the petitioner “must be able to go further to prove that the non-compliance was substantial and affected the result of the election. The petitioner must not only assert but must be able to satisfy the court that the non-compliance affected the result to justify nullification.