An election petition survey in Nigeria has revealed that the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s senatorial election petition is the most widely-reported and keenly-followed by the public in the history of the country.
According to the survey conducted by The Street Journal Magazine, “the history of election petitions in Nigeria started from the Second Republic when the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo had severally approached the tribunal to upturn his opponent’s victory in his favour.
The candidate of the then ruling party, Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria, (NPN,) was declared the winner. Meanwhile, many politicians had in the past gone to tribunals to reclaim their mandates as well. But that of the immediate past Governor of Osun State, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola remains one of the most-celebrated petitions in Nigeria’s political history.
Aregbsola’s electoral petition against ex-governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in 2010, was massively celebrated by the Nigerian media, just like that of the present Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, against former Governor Segun Oni, in 2010. Same was with the former Edo state governor and now APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomohole, who fought it out and won at the election tribunal with the declared winner, Professor Oserhrimen Opubor, ditto the former governor of Ondo state governor, Segun Mimiko, who went the same aisle to reclaim his mandate from the late Chief Olusegun Agagu, who was initially declared the winner.
Interestingly, all went in favour of the petitioners, except that of Chief Awolowo, whose loss was even premeditated, despite glaring and documented shreds of evidence. In the case of Akpabio, Nigerians at home and abroad have been kept abreast with the nuggets of the procedures in the tribunal, thus making it one of the most-widely covered election petitions by media houses in Nigeria, thus going down in history as a phenomenal case that could become a reference point in electoral petitions, all things being equal.
Senator Akpabio is challenging Senator Chris Ekpeyong’s victory at the last Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election. While Akwa Ibomites eagerly await the Election Petitions Tribunal’s verdict, which might be delivered any time from now, there might likely and possibly be a repeat of the scenarios that made Oshiomhole, Mimiko, Aregbesola, and Fayemi governors; only that this time around, it will be at the senatorial level,’’ the survey concluded.