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Buhari ministers Akpabio, Akume lose at tribunals

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By Toby Prince

The National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, wednesday upheld the victory of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the February 23 elections to represent Akwa Ibom North west senatorial district at the Senate of the National Assembly.

Godswill Akpabio, the first petitioner had challenged the elections on the ground that that Ekpenyong was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election and that the election that produced Ekpenyong as winner was invalid owing to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the elections.

But in a majority judgment, two justices dismissed the petition and upheld as valid the declaration of Ekpenyong as the winner of the election.

Similarly, the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Wednesday, dismissed the petition filed by the Senator, who represented Benue North-West in the 8th National Assembly, George Akume.

Akume, who is now the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, had approached the tribunal to challenge the election of  Senator Orker Jev of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The Minister, who  contested the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress,  was seeking the nullification of Jev’s election at the tribunal on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities.

Delivering the judgement, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice R. O. Odugu, held that the petitioner failed  to prove in  his petition that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

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