By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
PARTIES in the petitions filed by governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress APC, and the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, will today, Monday September 11, 2023 adopt their final written addresses at the Election Petitions tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Pastor Umo Eno and the the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Bassey Akpan of YPP are listed as first, second, third and fourth Respondents in the petition by Akan Udofia of the APC.
Both Obong Akan Udofia and Senator Akpanudoedehe, like other pending petitions before the tribunal are seeking the disqualification of Pastor Umo Eno of the PDP as duly elected governor in the March 18, 2023 election conducted in the State.
Interestingly, each of the governorship candidates are seeking to be declared the winner of the said election.
Obong Udofia and the APC in their joint petition are seeking the relief of the Tribunal that it be determined that at the time of the governorship Election of Akwa Ibom State the 2nd Respondent and the 4th Respondent were not qualified to contest the election.
Also the petitioners are seeking that it be determined that the votes purportedly scored by the 2nd and 4th Respondents in the election were wasted votes owing to non-qualification of 2nd and 4th Respondents.
The petitioners are equally seeking the relief of the Tribunal “that it be determined that on the basis of the remaining valid votes (after deducting the wasted votes credited to the 2nd and 4th Respondents, he (first petitioner) scored the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election, and satisfied the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the said election.
“That it be determined that the Certificate of Return wrongly issued to the Second Respondent by the first Respondent (INEC) is null and void and be set aside.
“An order compelling the first Respondent to issue the Certificate of Return to the first Petitioner (Udofia) as the duly elected governor of Akwa Ibom State”
The main challenger in the governorship election in the State, Senator Bassey Akpan and his party the Young Progressive Party (YPP) are also asking the court to order INEC to declare him the lawful winner of Akwa Ibom governorship Election.
Recall that parties in the Akpan and YPP joint petition adopted their final written addresses on the 16th day of August, 2023.
Other governorship candidates in the March 18, election seeking the disqualification of Pastor Umo Eno as duly elected governor of the state are Ezekiel Nya-Etuk of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and that of the
Action Alliance (AA).
The Governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) withdrew his petition sometime in the month ofJuly.
Meanwhile according to the results declared by INEC on the 19th of March Umo Eno scored 356, 348 votes to defeat seventeen (17) other governorship candidates participated in the disputed election.
Pastor Eno’s main challengers Bassey Akpan (YPP) and Akan Udofia of the APCl 136, 262 votes and 129, 602 votes respectively, while Senator John Akpanudoedehe of the NNPP scored 12,509 votes, Arch. Ezekiel Nya-Etuk of ADC scored 1, 685 votes and that of the Action Alliance scored 181 votes.