Akwa Ibom Guber tussle and ripples as Supreme Court rules tomorrow
By; Patrick Titus.
What could be described as the fear of the unknown has taken a centre stage among the political class in Akwa Ibom State as Supreme Court in Abuja sets to give final ruling over result of the April 11, 2015 governorship election conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state tomorrow.
Investigations by New Nigerian across the state showed that except for the 7-man panel of Judges who know what their judgment tomorrow would be, the respective contending parties in the matter though boastful on the outside to win, are worried on the inside against possible defeat as none can exactly predict the minds of the judges.
Both parties, Governor Udom Emmanuel and his party – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their opposition – All Progressive Congress (APC) investigations revealed had resorted to prayers respectively seeking God’s favour.
In the Governor Emmanuel’s state executive council, most members of the cabinet started secretly to move out some of their person and important documents from their offices to their private homes for fear that if Supreme Court judgment favours the opposition party, their offices may not be guaranteed by whoever would succeed their boss, Governor Emmanuel.
In Government House Uyo for instance, in the past two weeks it is losing its usual crowd and activities as even the governor, Mr. Emmanuel made more trips of recent than before, a situation some pundits said the frequent travels were to seek Abuja connection, an indication that all was not well, just as more supporters of his party have decamped to APC.
It is therefore common to see that while PDP who are the appellants on the matter are allegedly believed to be working on their contacts including the legal team in other to appeal to members of the panel for possible ruling in their favour, the opposition – All Progress Congress (APC) as respondents are also not resting on their oars in terms of evidences before the panel to carry the day but allegedly said to be seeking presidential might to actualize the dream.
For the APC camp, the recent Supreme Court verdict on Rivers State governorship election petition which upheld Mr. Nyesom Wike of PDP as the governor of the state against the petition by APC that the election in that state was marred by widespread electoral frauds, however appeared to pose a threat to the APC who feared that it may be used as a precedence to decide on the appeal contrary to Appeal Court earlier ruling which nullified the election and called for fresh election in the state.
However, a cross section of people in Uyo who spoke on the likely expectation in tomorrow’s judgment, expressed mixed feelings. While some said that it would be very difficult for PDP to win and upturn the Appeal Court judgment in view of APC weighty evidence before the Court, others said that PDP would win.
“During the trial at the tribunal, INEC which is the first respondent on the case testified against PDP by admitting that the governorship election in the state was marred by electoral fraud such that rigging, unauthorized thumb printing and hoarding of electoral materials characterized the exercise in the state”, one of them said.
“Based on what is on ground, the tribunal had given its ruling by cancelling elections in 18 out of 31 local government areas of the state. Appeal Court on the other hand had in its ruling, called for total cancellation of the said governorship election in the state and further warned that this type of election should not be repeated in any part of the country. Though no one can preempt the judgment of the Supreme Court in any body’s favour, but the Court in my conviction will uphold the Appeal Court ruling on the matter”, another who identified himself as a civil servant said.
In contrast, others said, “PDP will carry the day since electoral Act says for one to proof that there was no election in any state, he or she must be able to produce at least one witness each from each of the polling units across the affected state. In other word, Supreme Court had earlier made it clear that Electoral Act superseded any issue relating to card readers. Card readers need to be incorporated into the Act. Based on this, it is very likely that the Supreme Court will not reverse self, therefore, it will do justice on the matter in favour of PDP”, they positioned.
It would be recalled that the PDP in the state based on the ruling of Appeal Court that nullified the governorship election which Mr. Udom Emmanuel was declared the winner and governor of the state, had appealed to Supreme Court seeking a reverse of the judgment.
The Appeal Court verdict was sequel to election petition filed by APC governorship candidate at the election, Obong Umana Okon Umana and his party (APC) to the State Election Petition Tribunal which seated in Abuja challenging the result of the governorship poll conducted by INEC which Mr. Udom Emmanuel of PDP was declared the winner.
The tribunal in delivering its ruling cancelled the said elections in 18 out of 31 local government areas of the state based on evidence presented by the APC and its candidate, Obong Umana and called for a re-run in the affected local government areas of the state.