The Supreme Court sitting in Abuja the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had upheld the election of Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State. UDEME UTIP looks at the significance of the verdict to the people of Akwa Ibom The court in a ruling at about 10pm upturned the ruling of an Appeal Court, which cancelled the governorship election in the state, which Mr. Udom Emmanuel of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner by INEC and ordered a rerun in the 31 Local Government of the state.
It would be recalled that the Election Petitions Tribunal which was transferred to Abuja for alleged security reasons had ordered a rerun of the Governorship election of April 11 2015 in 18 Local Governments of the state even as the Appeal court on Dec. 18 annulled the said election totally and ordered a rerun in all the LGAs but the Supreme Court, on Feb. 3 upheld the victory of the PDP candidate, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in the election as announced by INEC.
From all indications, the people of the state especially the opposition had ultimate hopes that the ruling of the Supreme Court was going to be in favour of the opposition which would amount to a total rerun of the governorship election in the state hence prior to the ruling, PDP heavy weights and members of the defunct G22 including the former Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, Hon. Esseme Eyibo, Hon.
Michael Etim among others had defected to the APC to give the PDP a tough fight in event of a rerun.
The Oron Union leaders had declared total support for the APC flag bearer and Mr. Umana Okon Umana claiming that their decision was to punish Akpabio for what they described as injustice done to Oron.
At a point in Akwa Ibom state, almost every adult individual had a camp out of the two camps of APC and PDP and was talking or contributing on the social media effectively in favour of the camp he/she belongs while the few neutral ones were of the view that the fight should cease for the state to gain stability for developmental projects to commence in the interest of the masses.
Before the Judgment, loyalists of the two contending parties had positioned themselves at the Ibom Plaza, the city center in readiness for celebration when the verdict is given in favour of any party; while the PDP loyalists had arranged themselves with their Dakkada branded umbrella, the APC counterpart went wild; spread around the Plaza with long brooms hitting on passing cars and branding every driver as PDP thieves.
The joy of the people, especially the winning PDP knew no bounds since the judgment of the Supreme Court on Feb. 3, 2016, which favoured the sitting Governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel, though the losing party the APC are faulting the Judgment of the apex court others see it as a divine intervention from God to save time and cost and set the administration of Udom Emmanuel focused on development according to his campaign promises.
Over half of the brooms held by the APC loyalists were abandoned at the Plaza when the victory verdict was announced in favour of PDP and were packed by jubilating PDP loyalists who burnt them at strategic locations to end what they described as the broom mess.
There was a thanks giving service at the banquet hall of the Government House, followed by victory rally with the Governor, wife and the Deputy Governor on in an open roof vehicle and on a motor Cade from the Government House the Plaza, Ikot Ekpene, Eket and terminated at Onna, the home town of the state Governor.
There was a victory march by uniformed women from Uyo Township Stadium to the Government House at Barracks Road end, to show solidarity to the Governor on his victory at the Supreme Court.
A political analyst, Mr. Joe Iniodu sees the verdict as divine wisdom from the Supreme God which prevailed over the Supreme Court to give a Supreme Judgment. He appreciates Governor Udom Emmanuel who has seen the case as no victor no vanquish as the state is an indivisible entity.
The former Governor of the state and the Senate Minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio who also reacted to the verdict called for forgiveness from all parties and oneness of purpose to ensure the success of the state. He reasoned that though opposition will still remain; the failure of the state Government would amount to the failure of the whole state and therefore pointed to the need for unity and coexistence.
An APC chieftain, Mr. Uwem Udoma reasons that the state will ever remain one and APC would be intact but called for opportunity to over spontaneous suggestions when necessary for the interest and betterment of the state.
In a press statement, the APC candidate, Mr. Umana Okon Umana said it was not time to question the integrity of the Judiciary as an institution, saying that the struggle for change has only suffered a setback but would surly come as no one can stop what he described as the march of an idea that has been embraced by the mass of the people.
The Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who dedicated his victory at the Supreme Court to the people of the state, called on the members of the opposition political party to close ranks and join him in moving the state forward to surpass superior performance and ensure development that is sustainable, impactful and expansive. “We don’t have any other state to call ours except the great Akwa Abasi Ibom state”
“As I always have always stated; political foes of today may be political allies tomorrow, we should be guarded by this ennobling ideal” he maintained.
He however reiterated his commitment to provide exemplary leadership that would inspire the people of the state to rise to greatness, promising that with the distractions having been cleared by the judgment of the Supreme Court; the superior performances promised would show forth.
While most people are casting aspirations on the Supreme Court as being corrupt by God knows who; analysts and onlookers are of the opinion that the Appeal Court had erred in their Judgment on Dec. 18, 2015, as the election of State House of Assembly and National Assembly which were held on the same date were upheld but that of the Governorship was annulled on grounds of argument that there was no election on that date when all the votes were cast at the same time.