Governor Emmanuel floors Nsima Again, as Appeal Court Affirms VictoryWednesday, November 13th, 2019 | News
…NSIMA EKERE FINED 500,000 FOR BASELESS APPEAL
The Appeal Court in Calabar has sealed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel as the duly re-elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, setting aside an appeal number by the defeated governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Nsima Ekere.
The Appellate Court in a unanimous decision, upheld the judgement of the Governorship Elections Petitions tribunal in Uyo which had affirmed that Governor Udom Emmanuel validly won the March 9, 2019 elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, and awarded a cost of N500,000 for the 1st Respondent, at the expense of the appellants.
Ekere and his party APC had formulated twenty four grounds for a joint appeal, holding that the learned Trial Tribunal erred in law and that the judgment of the Tribunal is against the weight of evidence and seeks that the Court of Appeal should set aside the Tribunal judgment delivered on September 19, 2019.
The appeal by Mr. Ekere had requested an order to nullify the Governorship Election for non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, and an order for the 3rd Respondent, INEC to conduct fresh elections into the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The Appeal Court agreed with the respondents that the Appellants could not substantiate their allegations that the Governor Emmanuel’s re-election was marred by non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act, guidelines and manual for conduct of the 2019 General Elections.
The Appeal Court was also unequivocal in its ruling that the lower court was right in rejecting Exhibits PT1 -PT2331 (Voter’s Register), Exhibits PTA1 – PTA2275 (Forms EC8As), Exhibit PTB1-PTB275(Forms EC8Bs), Exhibits PTC1-PTC28(Forms EC8Cs), Exhibits PTD1(Form EC8D), Exhibit PTE1(Form EC8E), Exhibits PTF1-PTF3(INEC Manual and Guidelines for Conduct of 2019 Elections and Directory of Polling Units in Akwa Ibom State), Exhibit PTF4 (Summary of PVC collected and uncollected), Exhibit PTG1 – PTG19(EC40G).
The Appeal Court said the documents were merely dumped at the tribunal as they were not tendered in line with the law and the lower tribunal had no business investigating the content of such documents.
Furthering on the arguments raised by the 1st Respondent against Grounds 1,2,3,4,5,7,13,16,19 and 23 of the appeal, the five man panel also upheld that the tribunal was right to reject the Exhibits PTH81, PTH81A and PTH81B (Certificate of Compliance, GSM Cell Phone and Compact Disc Plate containing video clips), all tendered by PW44.
The Appeal Court among other reasons ruled that the burden to prove all allegations of criminality, corrupt practices and non-compliance rested on the appellants.
It also ruled that the Appellant lacked cogent and credible evidence.
On Witnesses paraded by the Petitioners to give evidences, the Tribunal held that “witnesses of the Petitioner gave hearsay evidence which were information claimed to be obtained by other persons, maintaining that such evidence has no probative value not being that of an eye witness.
“The first Petitioner, Mr. Nsima Ekere, his Deputy, Amadu Attai, Ward, Local Government and state collation agents of the Petitioners had statements on oath and oral evidences laced on hearsay.
“Such evidences are inadmissible in Proof of the Petition as rightly contended by the Respondents’ lead Counsel. The submission of the lead Counsel of the Petitioners is therefore discountenanced and the hearsay witnesses hereby rejected and expunged”, the tribunal ruled.
On documents tendered by the Petitioners, the Tribunal ruled that the Petitioners dwelled on exhibits without Witnesses of the Petitioners linking them to their case to arrive at conclusions.
According the tribunal judgement, “the lead Senior Counsel to the Petitioner knows that he cannot do that without evidence in support of same nor even on issues not pleaded. If he does as he did, his address, no matter how brilliantly written or couched, cannot substitute credible and cogent evidence of witnesses required in proof of the Petition”.
The Appeal however disagreed with the lower court that the subpoenaed witnesses needed to have affirm to a written statement before being eligible to offer evidences.
“You cant subpoenaed a witness and at the same time turn around to dismiss his evidence”.
Earlier, the Appeal court had dismissed Preliminary Objections on Ground 6 and Ground 22 of the Appellants by the 1st Respondent and the preliminary objection to Ground 22 by 3rd Respondent dismissed by Court of Appeal in Calabar