Certificate forgery: Supreme Court dismisses APC, YPP, NNPP petitions against A’Ibom Gov

Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed three separate appeals brought before it by some governorship candidates seeking nullification of the election of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno Bassey, on account of alleged certificate forgery.

The petitions were filed by governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Young Progressive Party and New Nigeria Peoples Party, in the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial poll in Akwa Ibom.

Lead counsel to the respective parties withdrew their separate appeals following the hints from the apex court’s panel of Justices that they have no merit.

The petitions by APC and its governorship candidate, Akanimo Udofia, YPP and its flagbearer, Akpan Albert Bassey as well as that of NNPP and its candidate, John James Akpan Udoedehe, were subsequently thrown out by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji upon their withdrawal.

Counsel in the matters had made spirited futile attempts to convince the Supreme Court that ‘Emo Eno Bassey’ and ‘Bassey Eno Emo’ were not the same person and as such, that the governor forged his Secondary School Certificate.

Their arguments, especially forgery allegations, did not go down well with the apex court Justices who queried the lawyers on whether the West African Examinations Council gave evidence to establish the criminal allegations.

Upon admission that WAEC did not testify in the matter, the lawyers opted and separately withdrew the appeal.

This prompted Justice Abba-Aji to dismiss them following no objections from lawyers to the various respondents.

The Supreme Court did not award cost against any of the lawyers to the appellants, having voluntarily withdrawn their cases on ground of want of merit.

The Court of Appeal in Lagos had in November last year affirmed the election of Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State in the governorship election held on March 18, 2023.

The appellate court in its judgment dismissed three separate appeals filed against the governor’s election.

While affirming the September 28, 2023 judgments of the election petition tribunal, the three-member panel of Justices of the appellate court, headed by Festus Obande, dismissed the appeal brought by the governorship candidate of the YPP, Bassey Akpan, and his party, against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Eno and the PDP.

Justice Obande also granted judgments in favour of the governor against the appeals of the governorship candidate of the NNPP, John Udoedehe, as well as Akanimo Udofia of the APC.

The appellate court declared in the unanimous judgments that all three appeals lacked merit.

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