Akpabio’s Re-election: Tribunal throws out PAC Petition, Chides Lawyers on Electoral Law
The Akwa Ibom State Elections Petitions tribunal sitting in Uyo, has struck out the case brought before it by the Governorship candidate of the Progressive Action Congress (PAC) Mr. Steve Ibanga, challenging the election of Governor Godswill Akpabio of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Even as the tribunal has warned lawyers to study and understand the provisions of the current electoral laws in the country before coming out to offer representations over the April 2011 general elections.
This decision was sequel to the objection raised by the Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party, and that of Governor Akpabio, that the PAC legal team filed her petition out of time.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Adam Odum described the irregularity as serious and incurable, over which the tribunal had no remedy.
Justice Odum maintained that since the Election Petition Tribunal was a highly sensitive body, counsels appearing before it should acquaint themselves with the current electoral laws to provide effective representation to their clients.
Reacting to the ruling, the lead counsel for the second respondent (Governor Akpabio), Chief Bayo Ojo(SAN), said the tribunal had no difficulty in dismissing the matter based on clear facts before it.
Also reacting, the counsel to the petitioner, Barr. Kelechi Oluigbo admitted that their inability to file the petition by motion on notice affected the substantive suit.
Barr Oluigbo maintained that for fear of filing out of time, his team had sent her petition by writing to the registrar.
However, Dominic Okon the Counsel to the PDP, said the decision was simply a victory for the PDP, and victory for the people of Akwa Ibom State.
Barr. Okon who expressed confidence in the judicial body, assured that the PDP which enjoyed overwhelming victory in the just concluded elections, will be vindicated by the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the tribunal will this Friday, rule on whether or not the petition filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was competent.