The Supreme Court, on Thursday, dismissed three appeals challenging the election of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno Bassey, brought by governorship candidates who sought to nullify the results based on alleged certificate forgery.
The appeals were filed by candidates from the All Progressives Congress, Young Progressive Party, and New Nigeria Peoples Party who participated in the March 18, 2023 gubernatorial poll in Akwa Ibom.
Lead counsel for the respective parties decided to withdraw their appeals following indications from the Supreme Court’s panel of Justices that the appeals lacked merit. The petitions were subsequently thrown out by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji upon their withdrawal.
Efforts by the counsels to convince the Supreme Court that ‘Emo Eno Bassey’ and ‘Bassey Eno Emo’ were distinct individuals and that the governor had forged his Secondary School Certificate were met with skepticism.
The justices questioned whether the West African Examinations Council had provided evidence to support the forgery allegations. With the admission that WAEC did not testify in the matter, the lawyers separately opted to withdraw the appeals.
Justice Abba-Aji dismissed the appeals, and no objections were raised by the lawyers to the respondents. The Supreme Court did not impose costs on any of the appellants since they voluntarily withdrew their cases due to a lack of merit.
In November of the previous year, the Court of Appeal in Lagos had affirmed the election of Governor Umo Eno in the March 18, 2023, gubernatorial poll. The appellate court, headed by Justice Festus Obande, dismissed three separate appeals challenging the governor’s election.
Justice Obande, in delivering the unanimous judgments, declared that all three appeals lacked merit. The judgments affirmed the decisions of the election petition tribunal on September 28, 2023.