Upheld Victory for Akwa Ibom Senator, Rerun Ordered in Bayelsa
Akwa Ibom Tribunal Affirms Senator Bassey’s Victory
In a significant legal decision, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has upheld Senator Aniekan Bassey’s victory in the February 25 National Assembly election. Bassey, representing Uyo East Senatorial district under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), emerged victorious with 98,634 votes, defeating his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Dr. Emaeyak Ukpong, who secured 43,298 votes. Ukpong had challenged the outcome, alleging electoral law violations.
However, the tribunal, led by Justice B A Taiwo, rendered its judgment on Friday, concluding that Ukpong’s claims of over-voting, widespread irregularities, and non-compliance with electoral laws lacked substantial evidence. Consequently, Bassey’s win was affirmed, heralded as a triumph for the rule of law, and an invitation was extended to his opponent for collaborative efforts in the district’s betterment.
Bayelsa Election Rerun Ordered, Certificate of Return Set Aside
Meanwhile, in Bayelsa State, the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has taken action in response to a petition filed by Michael Olomu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate. The tribunal, led by Justice Sylvester Odili, set aside the election victory of Fred Agbedi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Sagbama-Ekeremor Federal Constituency.
Agbedi had been declared the winner by INEC with 21,430 votes, while Olomu garnered 8,899 votes. The tribunal cited violence and irregularities in specific polling units and wards within Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas as grounds for its decision. Consequently, Agbedi’s certificate of return was invalidated, and INEC was instructed to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days.
Senator Agbedi expressed readiness for the supplementary election, forgoing any appeal. Meanwhile, Olomu announced plans to consult his party and legal advisors before determining the next course of action.
These legal developments underscore the pivotal role of due process and adherence to electoral laws in preserving the integrity of democratic elections in Nigeria. They also highlight the judiciary’s responsibility in ensuring justice prevails in electoral disputes, bolstering the nation’s democratic institutions.