The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a petition by the All Progressives Congress(APC) senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, Chief Inibehe Okorie, which challenged the election of Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio as the duly elected representative of the senatorial district.
In a judgement which lasted about one hour thirty minutes, the chairman of the tribunal Hon Justice Goddy Anunihu, with other two justices dismissed the petition against the electoral victory of Akpabio describing it as baseless and lacking in merit
Chief Okorie had claimed that due to a clerical error Chief Akpabio was not the candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, a position the Judges said was untenable as it was only the party which sponsored the candidate that can determine who its candidate was.
The Tribunal held that the error in the nomination form was not enough reason to nullify the election.
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According to Justice Anunihu the nomination of a candidate was the domestic affairs of the political party and the court could not interfere with it.
The Judges also held that the Petitioner had failed to prove that the alleged violence on the day of the election could be linked to Chief Akpabio and dismissed an uncertified computer print out of accredited voters was not known to law.
In the unanimous decision the Judges dismissed the case in its entirety and awarded a fine of N2,500 against the Petitioner, Chief Okorie.
In his reaction, Senator Akpabio said he was grateful that the Judiciary has affirmed the wishes of the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District as freely expressed by them on March 28 and said the victory would be an added impetus for him to continue to give quality representation to the Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State, the South South and Nigeria as a whole.
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