Appeal Court Ruling Throws APC, Akpabio’s Camp Into Confusion

  • Rerun ordered in one local government with Ekpenyong leading by 38,000 votes
  • I remain Akpabio’s senator despite appeal court ruling, says Chris Ekpenyong explodes
  • Ekpenyong urges Akpabio to resign from cabinet to face another defeat

The court of Appeal sitting on Saturday in Calabar, Cross River State throws the All Progressives Congress, APC and Senator Godswill Akpabio’s camp into confusion which court ordered to rerun a fresh election be rather conducted within 90 days in only Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom State with Ekpenyong of PDP leading by 38,000 votes, Newsflash247 reports

Newsflash247 gathered that a last minute gasp by Senator Godswill Akpabio to legitimize a whopping 61,329 votes from one of the ten local government areas of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District in the last national assembly elections has been rejected by the Court of Appeal, sitting in Calabar, Cross River State.

At the Appeal Court in Calabar, the five man panel ruled that a fresh election be rather conducted within 90 days in Essien Udim local government, as a result of irregularities which all parties had admitted in their separate addresses.

Newsflash247 gathered the results obtained from the other nine local government areas show that Senator Chris Ekpenyong leads with 114, 973 votes while Akpabio has 76,917.

Akpabio who lost the election to Chris Ekpenyong by 83 ,158 votes to 118 ,215, had approached the Appeal Court to seek the order of the court for the illegal figures he allocated to himself, after losing to Chris Ekpenyong in 8 of the 10 local government areas of the district.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had confirmed that only 19,455 voters were accredited in Essien Udim local government area during the election and had rejected the illegally manufactured scores that Akpabio appropriated for himself.

This INEC decision was upheld by the National Assembly Elections Petitions tribunal in Uyo, which decided that the 61,329 votes claimed by Akpabio were inconsistent with the number of accredited voters during the February 23 elections.

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong says his mandate remains intact despite the ruling by the Appeal Court on Saturday.

“I just finished interacting with the senate president and we have an assignment on Tuesday, I remain the representative of my people in the senate and nothing has changed.”

Speaking to our reporter from his base in Abuja, Ekpenyong who confirmed that the ruling has not mandated him to vacate office, said he was surprised at the inconsistency in the judgement, with the court granting a prayer that was not sought by an appellant.

“Look all through his petition, Akpabio never sought for cancellation of election in the reliefs he sought, he was urging to be declared the winner in lieu of a purported 61,000 votes he claimed for himself. I feel it is not right for a relief he didn’t seek to be awarded to him. But since it is the final arbiter in national assembly matters, there is no way we can appeal the ruling.

The former deputy governor however maintained that he is undaunted by the ruling and assured his supporters to remain calm while a date for the election is fixed.

“I am very prepared to defeat him again in Essien Udim, let’s go the field, he has to resign first as a Minister(of Niger Delta) in line with the provisions of the constitution,” Ekpenyong boasted.

God gave me victory to salvage my people from deceit and poor leadership, and nothing has spoilt that victory,” he restated.

He said with election in one local government area only, all focus and attention would be given to the election and there would be no room for manipulation and rigging, as was noted in the area based on reports of observers and the electoral umpire.

“He brought war and federal might, but the people’s might and God’s mighty hand gave me victory. This is another opportunity for the gap of that victory to be expanded,” Senator Ekpenyong added.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared that Akpabio lost the election to Chris Ekpenyong by 83 ,158 votes to 118 ,215, but Senator Godswill Akpabio approached the court, seeking that 61,329 votes allegedly garnered from Essien Udim local government area be added to his tally to make him the winner of the election.

At the Appeal Court in Calabar, the five man panel ruled that a fresh election be rather conducted within 90 days in Essien Udim local government, as a result of irregularities which all parties had admitted in their separate addresses.

Results obtained from the other nine local government, excluding Essien Udim local government area show that Senator Chris Ekpenyong leads with 114, 973 votes while Akpabio has 76,917.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had confirmed that only 19,455 voters were accredited in Essien Udim local government area during the election and had rejected the illegally manufactured scores that Akpabio appropriated for himself.

This INEC decision was upheld by the National Assembly Elections Petitions tribunal in Uyo, which decided that the 61,329 votes claimed by Akpabio were inconsistent with the number of accredited voters during the February 23 elections.

Going into the rerun, Akpabio is expected to register a minimum lead of 38,056 margin to upturn the election of Senator Chris Ekpenyong.

He is also expected to resign as Minister under the law to be eligible to contest election.

Similarly, the Appeal Court has also ordered that a fresh election be conducted in Essien Udim local government area for the House of Representatives Seat between the incumbent Nsikak Ekong of the PDP and Emmanuel Akpan of the APC.

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