By Ogenyi Ogenyi, Uyo
Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom has urged the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos to dismiss the appeal brought before it by the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party, Senator Bassey Akpan.
Eno also asked the Appelate court to uphold the decision of the lower court, which declared him winner of the Governorship election held on March 18 2023.
Akpan, and his party, had filled an appeal against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Eno, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal in Uyo upheld the Governor’s victory in the 2023 Governorship elections after Akpan failed to establish his claims of forgery and electoral malpractice.
When the Appeal came up at the Appeal Court, Lagos Division on Monday, the Governor through his Lead Counsel Paul Usoro, SAN, Paul Usoro, SAN, faulted the arguments by the Appellants that the judgement of the Supreme Court in the matter of certificate forgery against the 2nd Respondent by Mr Akan Okon, was different from the certificate forgery case brought before the elections tribunal.
Usoro averred that, “the Appellants submissions amount to mere sophistry and are entirely erroneous and misconceived”, adding “that a judgment in rem is a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction determining the status of a person or things distinct from the particular interest of a party ot the litigation.”
“My lord, when the court gave the judgment, it clearly decided that the said documents is not forged but belongs to the 2nd respondent. It implies that the judgment is applicable to PDP, INEC, the court, or any establishment for that matter”, said the Counsel to the 2nd defendant.
He further argued that, it was legally imperative that there should be an end to litigation, and as such the appellants had no reason to keep belaboring the court over a matter that had been sufficiently resolved at the highest court of the land.
The Appellants, jointly represented by Tunde Falola, held that they were dissatisfied by the ruling and judgement of the tribunal upholding the preliminary objections of the Respondents and dismissing the petition, hence the appeal.
Counsel to INEC, Kolapo Kolade,SAN, said the petitioners never produced either a true owner of the certificate which they claimed did not truly belong to Pastor Umo Eno, and that they never produced any document to buttress their claims of forgery.
“My lord, for any case of forgery to be established, the petitioners have to produce the original document and place it side by side with the alleged forged document. This was never done by the appellants at the lower court”, the INEC Counsel said.