The Supreme Court of Nigeria has explained why it set aside the judgment of the Akwa Ibom State governorship election tribunal and that of the appellate court in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Mr Umana Okon Umana in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election.
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nwaeze and unanimously supported by the 7-man panel, the courts said that the petitioner made allegations of criminal acts but could not prove it beyond reasonable doubt.
It added that the lower court curiously used a newspaper report to decide on criminal acts misconceiving the grounds of the appeal of the APC and its candidate.
According to him, the law is settled that disenfranchisement must be proved polling unit by polling unit.
The court also held that there was a wrong reliance on the petitioner witness number 48 by the lower court to decide that there was disenfranchisement of voters in 18 of the 32 local governments in Akwa Ibom State, even though the said witness admitted that he was not at his polling unit at the time of the polls.
The apex court further held that the over generalization that there was anarchy in Akwa Ibom State during the polls was wrong because the Nigerian Police report of the polls largely contradicts that of the witnesses which were relied upon by the court.
Justice Centus Nwaeze held that the two lower courts metamorphosed into an inquisitor forum shopping for schemishes even though there was no demonstration in court.
The apex court held that the judgment by the tribunal and the appellate courts were not consistent with the law and are accordingly set aside.