The Supreme Court has explained why it set aside the judgment of the Akwa Ibom State governorship election tribunal and that of the appellate court in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Mr Umana Umana in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election.
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nwaeze and unanimously supported by the 7-man panel, the courts said that the petitioner made allegations of criminal acts but could not prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
It added that the lower court curiously used a newspaper report to decide on criminal acts misconceiving the grounds of the appeal of the APC and its candidate.
According to him, the law is settled that disenfranchisement must be proved polling unit by polling unit.
The court also held that there was a wrong reliance on the petitioner witness number 48 by the lower court to decide that there was disenfranchisement of voters in 18 of the 32 local governments in Akwa Ibom State, even though the said witness admitted that he was not at his polling unit at the time of the polls.
The court also held that the over generalization that there was anarchy in Akwa Ibom State during the polls was wrong because the Nigerian Police report of the polls largely contradicts that of the witnesses which were relied upon by the court.
Justice Centus Nwaeze held that the two lower courts metamorphosed into an inquisitor forum shopping for schemishes even though there was no demonstration in court.
The apex court held that the judgment by the tribunal and the appellate courts were not consistent with the law and are accordingly set aside.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its Akwa Ibom governorship candidate in the April 11th 2015 governorship election, Mr Umana Umana, have tendered the report of their inspection and scanning of the election materials as ordered by the tribunal.
The tribunal at its proceedings took the testimony of a data analyst, who inspected the election materials.
The analyst told the tribunal that from his analysis there are indications that voting did not take place in most polling units in the state.
However, under cross-examination, he told the tribunal that the team could not carry out re-count of the ballot papers, because they were not made available for inspection.
He maintained that his analysis indicates irregularities that run contrary to the election guidelines.
While counsel to the petitioners expressed satisfaction with the testimony of the witness, the defence believes that the witness has helped the court to decide the credibility of his testimony as it relates to the case.
Meanwhile, the tribunal also admitted as an exhibit, a security report tendered by the Inspector-General of Police, who was subpoenaed by the tribunal through a legal officer from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, following a no objection plea by the defense counsels in the suit
Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has won the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primaries in Lagos State.
The Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Public Administrator, Mr. Ambode clinched 3,735 votes to beat 11 other aspirants to win the APC ticket.
The election, which ended in the early hours of Friday, saw Ambode defeating other candidates; Supo Shashore, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Tola Kasali, Obafemi Hamzat, Ganiyu Solomon, Lanre Ope, Tokunbo Wahab, Adekunle Disu, Abayomi Sutton, Tokunbo Agbesanwa and Leke Pitan.
Governorship candidates have also emerged for the All Progressives Congress, APC, across the country as the opposition party gears up to contest for the 2015 election.
Some of those who picked their party’s ticket in other states are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto State), a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna State); and second-term-seeking governors, Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State), Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara State) and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State).
Elsewhere, Mr. Dakuku Peterside picked the Rivers State APC ticket; Olorogun O’tega Emerhor won in Delta State, Okey Ezea in Enugu and Mr Umana Umana in Akwa Ibom State.