The Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja has nullified the conduct of elections in 18 out of the 31 local government areas of the state.
The tribunal also ordered a rerun of election in the affected local government areas, saying that the election should be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within 90 days.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sadiq Umar, nullified election in disputed local government areas while delivering judgment in a petition filed by the All Progress Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate Chief Umana Umana.
Umana had filed the petition, challenging the propriety of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s election.
In the judgment that lasted over seven hours, the tribunal agreed with Umana that there was disenfranchisement as a result of violence, snatching of election materials, irregularities and harassment of the election umpire.
But the tribunal was silent on the prayer seeking the invalidation of the election of Governor Emmanuel.
The tribunal also dismissed the forensic report on the grounds that those who generated the report admitted in their witnesses’ statements that they were not forensic experts. The tribunal further dismissed the press statement by INEC on the use of card reader for the elections.
Justice Umar said, “The card reader report is not a conclusive report to ascertain the actual number of accredited voters.
“That press release concerning the card reader report is null and void as it offended the provisions of section 49 of the Electoral Act which deals on the process of accreditation in an election”.