The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday sacked Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State from office and ordered a re-run within 90 days.
The All Progressives Congress candidate, Umana Umana, had approached the governorship election petitions tribunal to challenge the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s declaration of Mr. Udom Emmanuel as winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state.
The tribunal in its ruling on the petition filed by Umana and the APC, expressed satisfaction with the votes scored by Udom Emmanuel, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 13 local government areas of the state and upheld his victory in those areas.
It, however, nullified his votes in the remaining 18 local government areas and ordered a rerun in only those areas.
The governor appealed the tribunal ruling, insisting he won in all 31 LGAs of the state.
The APC candidate also expressed dissatisfaction and approached the Appeal Court, seeking a total nullification of the elections.
A five-man panel at the Court of Appeal on Friday, while delivering judgment on the appeals filed by both parties, dismissed Mr. Emmanuel’s argument, and cancelled the entire election.
The appeal court held that the lower tribunal erred in law by failing to comply with section 179 (2) of the Constitution.
It further held that having agreed with the evidence of principal witnesses, video evidence, and evidence from state collation agents, the tribunal should have concluded that there was no collation and that votes were merely allotted and should have nullified the entire election, instead of partial nullification.
“The question is, if there was no collation, can there be said to be an election?” the court asked. “Indeed where there was no collation of election, there cannot be said to be an election”.
The court, therefore, set aside the judgment of the tribunal in the 13 LGAs.
“The entire election is hereby nullified. The election that brought Mr. Udom is hereby nullified”, it ruled.