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UMANA VS UDOM: Appeal court hears 5 appeals against Akwa Ibom Guber polls

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday reserved judgement in separate appeals against the April 11,2015 Akwa Ibom Governorship election. The Justice U. M. Abba – Aji led five man panel of judges which heard a total of five appeals, reserved judgement in the suit to a date to be communicated to all parties. The adoption of briefs by parties which stated at exactly 12.04pm ended at exactly 2.23pm.

At the adoption of the brief of argument, the Appellants (Umana Umana, APC) were represented by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) , 1st and 2nd Respondents ( Udom Emmanuel & PDP) had Damian Dodo (SAN) as counsel , 3rd Respondent (PDP) was represented by Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) while Onyeachi Ipaezu (SAN) represented INEC and the Resident Electoral Commissioner Akwa Ibom State.
Adopting his brief of argument in the first appeal, Counsel to 1st and 2nd Respondents, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), in an Appellant brief of argument dated and filed on November 14,2015 prayed the court to dismiss the appellant’s appeal for being unmeritorious. On his part, counsel to Udom Emmanuel, Dodo (SAN),while adopting his brief of argument, urged the court to set aside part of the judgement of the Trial tribunal which nullified election in 18 out of the 31 Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State. He urged the court to allow the appeal as being meritorious and affirm Udom Emmanuel as the duly elected Governor of the state. Counsel to 3rd Respondent aligned himself with the submissions of the 1st and 2nd Respondent’s counsel.
The second appeal for the day was an appeal by INEC, asking the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal which nullified election results in 18 LGA. In a brief of argument dated and filed on November 13,2015 , Ipaezu (SAN) counsel to INEC, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought by the electoral body against Umana Umana and the APC. The 4th Respondent conceded to the appeal and filed no brief in opposing the brief.
Then came the third appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), against Umana Umana, Udom Emmanuel, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner Akwa Ibom State and the Nigeria Police Force ( NPF).
Counsel to PDP, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), adopted his appellant brief of argument dated and filed on November 13,2015 and prayed the court to set aside parts of the judgement appealed against. He also adopted his reply to the preliminary objection of the st and 2nd Respondent. He prayed the court to dismiss the respondents preliminary objection, allow the appeal and set aside part of the judgement of the lower tribunal which nullified election in 18 LGA of Akwa Ibom state.
Olanipekun countered him while adopting his 1st and 2nd Respondent reply brief dated and filed on November 20,2015 and prayed the court to dismiss the appeal, and affirm the portion of the judgement of the lower tribunal being appealed against.
The fourth appeal was from Umana Umana and the APC vs Udom Emmanuel, PDP, INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner Akwa Ibom state and the Nigeria Police Force. Olanipekun while adopting the appellants brief of argument , prayed the court to discountenance the arguments contained in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondent reply brief, allow the appeal and set aside the portion of the judgement if the lower tribunal which okayed the April 11,2015 Governorship election in 13 LGA ‘s in the state. All the Respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal.
The court also heard an Interlocutory appeal by Udom Emmanuel vs Umana Umana, APC, PDP, INEC, REC Akwa Ibom State, NPF. Olanipekun prayed the court while adopting his notice of objection in his 1st and 2nd Respondent reply brief of argument, to terminate the appeal on the preliminary objection. Judgement in all the appeals have been reserved to a date that will be communicated to parties.