Today, the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross Rivers state upheld the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, Akwa Ibom State challenging the judgement of the State House Assembly Tribunal sitting in Uyo that ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue a certificate of return to Nse Ntuen of the APC as the winner of the March 9 elections for Essien Udim State Constituency against Bar. Esse Umoh of the PDP.
In their judgement, the Justices of the Court of Appeal unanimously disagreed with the judgement of the Tribunal and held that the Tribunal was wrong to have ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Nse Ntuen when he was not at any point announced as the winner of the elections for the Essien Udim State Constituency. The Court of Appeal consequently set aside the order of the Tribunal directing INEC to issue the Certificate of Return to Nse Ntuen and also struck out the Cross of Appeal of the APC for wanting in merit.
Following this sudden twist of events at the Court of Appeal, Hon. Nse Ntuen has been tipped for appointment as the Special Adviser to the Minister on Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Akpabio on Adhoc Legislative Matters. Recall that just last year, Hon. Ntuen had played this role with dexterity when his seat at the House of Assembly was declared vacant as demanded by the law, following his defection to the APC along with his boss, Chief Akpabio.
The hint to appoint Hon. Ntuen as SA on Adhoc legislative matters appears to be the only option now available to keep the former legislator close to the reigns of power, albeit irrelevantly so.
The PDP and her candidate, Barr. Esse Umoh speaking to the press after the court’s verdict seem confident that a fresh election will certainly see to their victory at the polls which they claim would have been won by them from the on set had the APC and Hon. Nse Ntuen allowed the elections to be free and fair.