BreakingNews 3/2/16 - Akwa Ibom judgment: Expectations high on all sides

[ Masterweb Reports: Chioma Onuegbu reports ] - Interestingly stakeholders and supporters of both political parties appear confident of getting victory in the legal battle even as some prefer not to speculate over the matter until after the verdict.


The Supreme Court ruling on Rivers governorship election which reversed the earlier nullification of Governor Nyesom Wike’s election by the lower tribunal and Court of Appeal seems to have doused the tension and fears that had enveloped supporters of Emmanuel following the Appeal Court ruling that nullified his election as governor.


The thinking of many in the party is that the Supreme Court could in the same way it applied to the Rivers dispute bring a similar relief to the PDP in Akwa Ibom.


In an interview with Vanguard, a PDP elder, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga who also served as Director- General of Udom Emmanuel Campaign organisation explained that the ruling by the lower courts were political judgments even as he noted that the party was ready for any outcome of the final judgment on the legal battle.


Political judgment


His words, “Nobody was surprised with the Appeal Court verdict, it was a political judgment, but we are expecting a divine judgment at the Supreme Court. This is because we believe that the justices in the Supreme Court who have reached the peak of their career, are more matured and will look at the matter more dispassionately. Even at that we are preparing for rerun and those that voted for us will still vote us again.


“However all that the country is expecting is that the rerun will be free and fair if we want democracy to stay. That is where the problem could come because it is not Udom that is on trial, it is actually democracy that is on trial”.


Similarly the Commissioner for Information and Communication Mr. Aniekan Umanah during a media interaction few weeks ago said Akwa Ibom PDP was quick to say that they were confident that the Supreme Court will reverse the earlier ruling by the Appeal Court that cancelled the entire governorship election wondering why almost all the PDP litigations in the National and State assemblies were upheld except the governorship position.


“This is a question that even a child would ask; that you did the same thing, with the same process; the accreditations were not different, so how come the same court upheld the house of assembly election of the 21 members that were all taken to court and then on the other hand the same court now said the governorship election was marred by irregularities and therefore cancelled election in the entire local government areas.


“So you see that is what pricks the mind and we believe these are the issues that the higher appellate court would be looking at. We are very confident that justice will come but in any case it does not matter the angle you look at it from, we are ready for any situation. And we are very confident that Justice will come”.


The APC on its part is equally not expecting anything different from the Appeal Court judgment as they argue that the grounds on which the APC in Rivers lost the governorship legal battle was different from that of Akwa Ibom.


The Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Ita Awak was optimistic that the Supreme Court judgment would be hinged on the weight and overwhelming evidence the APC brought before the court.


He said, “Any averagely intelligent person knows that cases are won based on the strength of the facts pleaded, the weight of the evidence presented before the justices of the Court and that was what APC in Akwa Ibom did”.


“In Akwa Ibom we got the records in the 31 LGAs that is the difference between the case of Akwa Ibom and Rivers. And another important issue is that PDP could not produce any evidence to justify their claims in court.”


So it is on the basis of our evidence against the PDP which they could not defend that we are very, very confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the decision of the Appeal Court”.


Meanwhile in the past few weeks both political parties were observed to be reaching out to different socio-political groups, communities on solidarity and thank you visits which many see as part of strategy to woo the electorate in expectation of a rerun in the state.


*Photo Caption - Map of Akwa Ibom

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