Appeal Court sacks Akwa Ibom House of Reps member, orders rerun

Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo, Nigerian lawmaker representing Ikono-Ini Federal Constituency

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has nullified the election of Emmanuel Ukpong-Udo as a member representing Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State in the House of Representatives.

The appellate court said INEC’s declaration of Mr Ukpong-Udo as the winner of the election was a violation of the Electoral Act 2022, Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of the Election 2022 and the Manual for the Election 2023, Channels TV reported.

The judge, Abba Mohammed, upheld the judgement of the Election Petition Tribunal which had earlier sacked Mr Ukpong-Udo, the candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in the 2023 election.

Mr Ukpong-Udo had defeated his closest rival Glory Edet of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.

The YPP candidate polled a total of 19,926 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Mrs Edet, who scored 15,765 votes.

The final votes were a product of merged results of the 25 February and the 15 April 2023 supplementary National Assembly election.

INEC had declared the 25 February election in the area inconclusive and fixed 15 April 2023 for the supplementary election.

The commission again cancelled the supplementary election saying it was characterised by violence and ballot box snatching.

Channels Television reported that the Court of Appeal has ordered a rerun of the election, but it is not clear if the rerun was ordered in the entire federal constituency or in the polling units where the INEC had declared the results as inconclusive.

Mr Ukpong-Udo was first elected to the National Assembly in 2019 under the PDP platform, but he later defected to the YPP and secured the party ticket after he boycotted the PDP primary.