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Akpabio trounces Okori, APC at Appeal Court



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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the Akwa Ibom tribunal judgement that upheld Godswill Akpabio election as the PDP senator representing Akwa Ibom North in the National Assembly.
The three-man panel headed by Justice Mashood Oredola dismissed the appeal brought by the appellants Inibehe Okori (and APC) who contested on the platform of the APC against Akpabio.
Okori and his party had contested at the tribunal that Akpabio was not qualified to contest as PDP candidate because his nomination ran afoul of section 652 of the 1999 Constitution and section 31 of the Electoral Act that mandates a party to submit the names of their candidates to INEC within 60 days to the election.
The appellants, the court held, failed to by preponderance of evidence, to establish that Akpabio was not duly nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to contest the March 28 election.
It further stated that ‎the Akwa Ibom State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal acted properly when it dismissed the joint petition ‎that Okori and APC filed before it on April 18.
‎”The tribunal was right to hold that no one was misled by the mistake. The 1st Respondent was qualified and duly nominated by the 3rd Respondent‎,” Justice Oredola stated.
‎”There is abundant evidence that the electorates, including the petitioners, were not in any way undecided as to the Senatorial District which the 1st respondent ‎was nominated to contest the election.‎
“The 1st Respondent has proved by credible evidence that he was duly sponsored by the 3rd Respondent and was eminently qualified to contest the election.
‎”‎The electorates that trooped out to vote on March 28 must have their wishes and votes respected. The real essence of democratic practice is to afford them the opportunity to express their wish through the ballot, so as to have their say. Once they have spoken, their voice must not only be heard but must be protected as well as respected.
“In the overall, this appeal lacks merit and is hereby refused. The judgement of the tribunal delivered on October 14 is hereby affirmed. There shall be no order as to cost”, the appeal court ruled.