The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal brought by Mr Frank Okon, seeking to nullify the election of Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio.
The court’s judgment read by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, held that the appellant lacked the locus standi to institute the suit, having not participated in the election that produced the governor.
It also reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal which had held that the appellant had locus standi to commence the action.
The apex court’s panel of five justices in the unanimous judgment further upheld the decision of the High Court which had earlier dismissed Okon’s suit.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour wondered how the appellant, who “in black and white,’’ submitted that he did not participate in the election, would turn round to challenge its outcome.
The court said that the appellant’s action contravened the provisions of Section 87 (9) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended.
The court had at its last sitting on Feb.4 reserved judgment after the counsel to parties adopted their final addresses.
The counsel are Mr Paul Ewekoro (SAN), counsel to the appellant (Okon), Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), counsel to PDP, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), Akpabio’s counsel, and Mr Adeola Adedipe, INEC’s counsel.
It would be recalled that Okon had sued Akpabio seeking to nullify Akpabio’s election in the Jan. 15 and April 26, 2011 PDP primary and general elections.
The appellant had urged the Abuja Federal High Court to declare him as the winner of the re-run Jan. 15, 2011 Akwa Ibom PDP gubernatorial primaries and the April 26 elections.
Okon had argued in his submission that he was the candidate of the PDP in the election, having been screened and cleared to participate in the said election but was denied the ticket.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati had held that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the suit, having failed to participate in the primary elections.
Kafarati further held that mere possession of PDP’s nomination form, without participating in the primary election proper to select the party’s candidate, was not a ground to challenge the election’s outcome.
The court had also declined jurisdiction to determine the suit and dismissed it forthwith.
Not satisfied with the trial court’s decision, Okon proceeded to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, urging the court to set aside the lower court’s judgment, pleading miscarriage of justice.
The Court of Appeal which, on Nov. 20,2013, held that he had locus standi, however, dismissed Okon’s appeal, following which he again approached the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the governor’s election.