The Appeal Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has affirmed the election petition tribunal’s decision to annul the victory of Honourable Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, the representative for Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom State.
Justice Abba Mohammed, in delivering the verdict, asserted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) violated the clear provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Regulations, Guidelines for the conduct of the 2022 Election, and Manual for Election Officials 2023 in declaring and returning Ukpong-Udo.
The tribunal, in its ruling, not only nullified the election but also mandated a supplementary election in the polling units where the initial election was not held within the Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency. A total of 33 polling units are slated for the supplementary election to determine the rightful winner.
Hon. Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, a member of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), was initially declared the winner by INEC with 19,926 votes in the February 25 House of Representatives election for Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency. This announcement, made by the returning officer, Patrick Aderorho, at the Constituency Collation office, was met with disagreement.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr Glory Edet, who garnered 15,765 votes, contested the decision. INEC had deemed the election inconclusive due to issues of violence, leading to a rescheduled supplementary election. However, the court deemed this action contrary to the Electoral Act.
Further complications arose during the supplementary election, resulting in INEC cancelling the process. Despite the cancellation, the electoral body declared Ukpong-Udo as the winner almost a month later. Dissatisfied with this outcome, Dr Glory Edet, represented by her counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Uwemedimo Nwoko, sought the tribunal’s intervention to invalidate Ukpong-Udo’s return.