Please share:

By Itoro Etti

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Thursday, dismissed all the petitions filed by Mr. Eseme Eyiboh of the All Progressive Congress (APC) against Hon. Okpolupm Etteh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for lack in merit.

The Panel held that the Petitioner failed to provide credible evidence to prove his case and subsequently dismissed the petitions completely.

The judgment, which was read by the Chairman of the three-man Panel of Justices, Justice Kudirat Jose, also affirmed Hon. Etteh, who was returned elected by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in the House of Representatives election of February 25, 2023, winner of the election for Eket/ONNA/Esit Eket/Ibeno Federal Constituency.

Citing relevant authorities, the Tribunal further maintained that the burden of proof was on the petitioner, who relied on mere speculations to allege that Hon. Etteh’s certificates were forged.

In his petitions, Mr. Eyiboh had alleged that the candidate of the PDP was not qualified to stand election due to certificate forgery and, therefore, sought the Tribunal to nullify Etteh’s eligibility and declare him (Eyiboh) winner of the said election.

Recall that Counsel to the first respondent, Barrister Ekpenyong Ntekim, during the Panel’s sitting of Wednesday, May 17, 2023, told the Tribunal that it was rather surprising that the petitioner could not do due diligence to the case, citing his failure to produce witnesses from any of the institutions he claimed issued fake certificates to Hon. Etteh.

At that same sitting, Barrister Ntekim also responded, through a prayer, to the argument by the Counsel to the petitioner, Barrister Jumbo Udom, that a witness from School of Management and Technology, now Temple Gate Polytechnic, Aba, had testified before the tribunal that Hon. Etteh obtained his OND certificate from the school.

Barrister Ntekim further told the Tribunal that contrary to the petitioner’s argument and submission, all the witnesses who were brought from Temple Gate Polytechnic, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, and Examination Certification Division of the Ministry of Education, Akwa Ibom State, testified with documents as evidence that Hon. Etteh, indeed, obtained his certificates from these institutions.

Meanwhile, Counsels to the petitioner, second respondent (PDP) and third respondent (INEC) expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Panel for its judgment.

Please share: