The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state has reserved judgement in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Esima Ekere challenging the election of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. M. Yakubu, who announced this in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital after presented their final addresses, said all processes filed will be handled in the interest of justice.
While adjourning the tribunal to a later date for judgement to be communicated to all parties involved in the suit, Justice Yakubu, commended the legal counsels and lawyers for the petitioners and respondents for the peaceful proceedings throughout the period of the tribunal’s sitting.
He said the panel was comfortable in the state unlike in other places and had not experienced any security breach in the course of its sessions.
He recalled that in their final addresses, the first respondent, Gov. Udom Emmanuel represented by lead counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) filed five processes; the second respondent, the PDP through its counsel, Tayo Oyetibo filed five processes, the third respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) represented by Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN) filed four processes while the petitioners, Nsima Ekere represented by J. S. Okupeta (SAN) filed eight processes.
Presenting his final written address, counsel to Gov. Udom, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN) said since he has adopted and is relying on the processes enumerated in his address, the tribunal should accede to his objection and dismiss the petition.
But, the counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) urged the tribunal to expunge all documents responded to in its written address and reject the objection of the petitioners for reasons stated in its written addresses.
He also requested that the tribunal dismiss the petition it filed in reply to the petitioners address on September 8 because it is a vague case, lacks merit and for reasons stated in its written address.
“The tribunal should expunge all the documents responded to in our written address and reject the objection of the petitioner for reasons written in our written address.
“We urge his lordship to dismiss the petition because it is a vague case and for reasons stated on the written addresses. We urge his lordship to also dismiss the petition as being lacking in merit,” he said.
However, counsel to the Independent INEC, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN) told the tribunal that it adopts the objections in its written documents and called on the tribunal to adopt its arguments, and discountenance every argument of the petitioner.
He adopted the arguments in the processes he filed and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition, noting that the petitioners were full of contradictions in their presentations.
Lead Counsel to Obong Nsima Ekere of the APC, J. S. Okupeta (SAN) on his part urged the tribunal to reject every document tendered by the respondents and to dismiss every objection tendered against the petition as stated in his written address.
He stated that all documents tendered by the petitioners complied with the rules of admissibility and duly marked and admitted in law as required by law, while all documents objected to on the side of the respondents did not comply with the rules of admissibility.
“We urge the tribunal to strike out the replies of all the first, second and third respondents in points of law because they were filed in flagrant disregard to the points of law and not on arguments.
“I urge the tribunal to make use of the authorities cited in the interest of justice and nullify the elections on the several grounds I have cited, including non accreditation,” he stated.