Mr. Jeremiah Akpan, the Action Alliance (AA) candidate for governor in the March 18 election in Akwa Ibom, had his plea dismissed by the Uyo-based Governorship Election plea Tribunal on Friday.
The petition was dismissed for incompetence because it did not comply with the Electoral Act 2022, as read by Justice Buetnaan Mandy on behalf of the other two members of the tribunal.
The petitioner, Akpan, had gone to the tribunal when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declined to list him as a contender for the election on its website.
Dr. Ethelbert Ezeh, counsel to INEC, expressed satisfaction with the tribunal’s decision, stating, “Exclusion as it stands now is no longer one of the grounds for election petition in Nigeria by the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.”
However, Nkereuwem Akpan, petitioner’s counsel, stated, “We will analyze the verdict and advise our client. We will be appealing the decision at the Court of Appeals because we are not happy with it.
“We came to the court because we believe in our judiciary process and our democracy, but justice has not been done today,” the petitioner said in despair. Despite an Appeal Court Order requiring INEC to add my name to the voter rolls, the organization has so far been uncooperative. My sole misrepresentation of the facts on election day brought me here, and while I respect the court’s decision, I am disappointed by it. I plan to go to the Court of Appeals.”