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The court has dismissed the challenges to Governor Eno’s victory

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The court has dismissed the challenges to Governor Eno’s victory

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On Friday, the Court of Appeal in Lagos dismissed the appeals of Akwa Ibom’s gubernatorial candidates Akanimo Udofia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and John Akpanudoedehe of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Akpan was a member of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

The three governorship candidates and their parties had disputed the win of Governor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2023 gubernatorial election.

In two different decisions, the court found no basis for the appeals.

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The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Governor Eno, dismissing the appeals that sought to have the election overturned due to allegations of certificate fraud.

The Appellate Division, however, decided that the Certificate Matter Judgment did not apply to the Appellants because they were not a party to the case.

It found that the appellants had abused the court system by retrying a case that had already been decided in Pastor Umo Eno Bassey’s favor by the High Court, the Appeal Court, and the Supreme Court.

The appellate court criticized the appellants for failing to summon witnesses who were polling agents to prove their case of electoral irregularities in its ruling on the appeal by the YPP governorship candidate.

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The court found that Bassey Albert and his party relied on hearsay in the form of documents to allege election irregularities, rather than attempting to present witnesses and voters from the polling places.

Specifically, the court said, “it is possible to say that the evidence given by Bassey Albert’s witnesses amounted to drama scripts meant to entertain the gallery and not serious statements that could influence the emergence of a governor.” This was in reference to the local government collation agents that the YPP candidate paraded before the court.

The appellants failed to meet their burden of proof that the second respondent’s name did not match the names on the 1981 and 1983 WAEC certificates, hence the court sided with the second respondent.

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The appeals court also decided that the briefs submitted by the respondents did not contradict the Appeal Court’s practice directive, and it overruled Bassey Albert’s attorney Tunde Falola’s preliminary objection.

 

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