The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo has dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA) Jeremiah Akpan in the March 18 election in Akwa Ibom State.
Akpan, the petitioner, had approached the tribunal because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to upload his name on its official website as a candidate for the election.
Justice Buetnaan Mandy, who read the unanimous judgement of the tribunal on behalf of two others, dismissed the petition on grounds of incompetence as it was not in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
Counsel to INEC, Dr Ethelbert Ezeh, applauded the judgement of the tribunal, saying, “Exclusion as it stands now is no longer one of the grounds for election petition in Nigeria by the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.”
Counsel to the petitioner, Nkereuwem Akpan, on the other hand, said: “We will study the judgement and advise our client. We are not satisfied with the judgement and will appeal the judgement in the Court of Appeal.”
The petitioner expressed disappointment, saying: “We came to the court because we believe in our judiciary process and our democracy, but justice has not been done today.
” We have a Court Order from an Appeal Court, mandating INEC to upload my name, and INEC refused. By that singular act of misleading the people on election day, I came here so that the court would decide, and I am not satisfied with the judgement, though I respect their views. I will be heading to Appeal Court.”