By Ani Michael
The Akwa Ibom State National and House of Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal,sitting in Metro Road, Uyo on Sunday September 22,2019, delivered judgement in the petition filed by Barr. Esse Umoh, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidate for Essien Udim state constituency against Hon.Nse Ntuen of the All Progressives Congress(APC).
Ntuen, was declared the winner and returned elected having polled the majority of total valid votes cast by INEC Returning Officer for Essien Udim local government area. But in a twist of event, the Returning Officer,wrote a complained letter to Akwa Ibom State INEC commissioner,Mr. Mike Igini and alleged that he declared Nse Ituen under duress.
Barr. Esse Umoh, petitioned the tribunal and urged the tribunal among other things to disqualified Ntuen and declared him the winner of that election. According to him, Ntuen at the time of the election did not have the requisite academic qualifications.
Delivering judgment on Sunday, chairman of the 3-man tribunal, Justice Akanbi, ordered INEC to issue Hon.Nse Ntuen, the APC candidate his certificate of return, having been declared and returned by the INEC Returning Officer on the day of the election.
Justice Akanbi, dismissed the petitioners’ petition for lacking in merit.
It would be recalled that the Mike Igini-led Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) in the state, had refused to issue Ntuen Certificate of Return, despite his declaration as the winner by the Returning Officer citing a protest letter by Essien Udim INEC Returning Officer as an excuse.
Reacting to the judgement, Hon Ntuen, expressed gratitude to the leadership and members of APC for their solidarity. He described the judgement as a “victory of light over darkness”.
” I thank the living God, the APC family, our political leaders and particularly, my mentor and leader, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and wife for their support and show of love.”