The Evangelist news edition, Thursday, January 11, 2024.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has affirmed the election of Umo Eno as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, thereby closing the disputes to his victory in the March 2023 polls.
The apex court dismissed appeals filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Young Progressives Party (YPP), and the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), each contesting Eno’s eligibility or the conduct of the election.
This ruling comes after the Court of Appeal had already struck out similar suits against Eno last year.
The petitioners, Bassey Albert Akpan of the YPP, Akanimo Udofia of the APC, and John Akpanudoedehe of the NNPP, had raised various concerns, including allegations of electoral malpractices and Eno’s qualification to hold office.
Earlier, the Supreme Court has urged Hassan Liman, SAN, counsel to APC & Akanimo Udofia on the petition against Governor Umo Eno, to withdraw the appeal. The court stated, “It is not every matter you bring here to bother us. Since you couldn’t invite WAEC to disown the certificate you claimed was forged, stop wasting our time. The tribunal did a good job and we read the judgement and it was a perfect judgement, we urge you to withdraw.”
Subsequently, the APC Counsel heeded the advice, saying, “I hereby withdraw the Appeal based on the highest wisdom of Their Lordships.”
Lead Counsel to Sen Bassey Albert, Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN, is present in court but declines to appear on the appellant’s team. Hence OBA is represented in court by Barr Tunde Falola.
Senator Bassey Albert also apologized to court for bringing up the appeal.
This is as the Supreme Court frowned at his counsel for repeating the same argument of Akanimo Udofia on the arrangement of names on WAEC certificate.
Governor Umo Eno is represented by Paul Usoro, SAN, Essien Udom, SAN, Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, Emmanuel Enoidem, SAN.
INEC is represented by Offiong Offiong, SAN, while PDP is represented by Tayo Oyetibo, SAN.
The court has decided to jointly take the two cases as the facts are similar.