The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo on Friday struck out the petition filed by Mr Jeremiah Akpan, the governorship candidate of Action Alliance (AA) in the election held on March 18 in Akwa Ibom.
Justice Buetnaan Mandy, who read the unanimous judgement of the tribunal on behalf of two others, dismissed the petition on grounds of incompetence as it was not in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
Akpan, the petitioner, had approached the tribunal because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to upload his name on its official website as a candidate for the election.
Counsel to INEC, Dr Ethelbert Ezeh, applauded the judgement of the tribunal, saying, “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.”
Counsel to the petitioner, Nkereuwem Akpan, on the other hand, said: “We will study the judgement and advise our client. We are not satisfied with the judgement and will appeal the judgement in the Court of Appeal.”
The petitioner expressed disappointment, saying: “We came to the court because we believe in our judiciary process and our democracy, but justice has not been done today. We have a Court Order from an Appeal Court, mandating INEC to upload my name, and INEC refused. By that singular act of misleading the people on election day, I came here so that the court would decide, and I am not satisfied with the judgement, though I respect their views. I will be heading to Appeal Court.”