Chidi Samuel| The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State on Saturday ordered a rerun election in Essien Udim Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Ekpeyong, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the election but Akapbio challenged the victory at the tribunal.
But the tribunal affirmed Ekpenyong’s election as it ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that the election was marred by irregularities.
Not satisfied with the verdict, Akpabio, who is the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, once challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal.
In its judgment, the appellate court declared as invalid, the declaration of Christopher Ekpenyong as the winner of the election and the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district.
It, therefore, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to conduct a fresh election in Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state within 90 days.
The appellate court held that there was proof of irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election within Essien Udim LGA and as such, no one should have been declared a winner.
The court stressed that the right thing to do was to conduct a fresh election in the disputed area.