On Thursday, 19th September, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, upheld the March 9 election of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic party. The chairman of the three-man panel, justice A.M. Yakubu, in a unanimous judgment in Uyo, dismissed all the evidence of the petitioner without witnesses, adding that, “without oral evidence to confirm how the materials were arrived at, such evidence is considered as being dumped in the tribunal.”
Citing the Supreme Court in the case of Nweke V INEC, the court ruled that “documentary evidence, however daring, cannot be thrown on the Tribunal without oral evidence linking the documents to the issues in the petitioners’ case.”
The tribunal held that the petitioners, having abandoned their prayers where they claimed that the first petitioner, Obong Nsima Ekere, was the winner of the election, all the evidence given in effort to substantiate the said ground is expunged from the considerations of the court in the judgment.
According to the tribunal, the petitioners failed to follow the laid down rules in front loading and listing all documents they sought to rely on in proof of their petition.
“Consequently the efforts and attempt by the petitioners to sandwich-in documents not pleaded nor listed by the petitioners is condemnable,” the tribunal ruled. The court also noted that the documents were not linked to any parts of the petition and that most of them were mere photocopies of public documents and not the required certified true copies of the documents.