The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
Akpabio who represents Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District of the state, according to a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Mashood Oredola was duly elected and should represent the district.
Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Senatorial District, Chief Inibehe Okori.had filed an appeal against Akpabio but the three-man panel dismissed it.
According to the court, the appellants failed to by preponderance of evidence, prove that Akpabio was not duly nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to contest the March 28 election.
It held that Akpabio was duly nominated for the election in accordance with the provisions of section 65(2) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, and section138(1) of the Electoral Act.
”The tribunal was right to hold that no one was mislead by the mistake. The 1st Respondent was qualified and duly nominated by the 3rd Respondent.
”There is abundant evidence that the electorate, 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 have 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.