Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said he would approach the Supreme Court to invalidate the judgment by the Appeal Court which nullified his election as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
He also advised his supporters, party members and all his constituents to “remain calm and law-abiding, as they continue their campaigns for the successes of the APC in Akwa Ibom North West, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large.”
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, had ruled in favour of DIG Udom Udo Ekpoudom (rtd) who challenged the failure of the APC (1st respondent) to submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC – 2nd respondent) as the party’s candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District for the 2023 general election.
The justices of the Appeal Court, in the suit marked: Ekpoudom V APC & INEC (CA/ABJ/CV/1055/2022), held that the plaintiff was the valid candidate of the party.
They had therefore ordered the national electoral body to immediately recognise the plaintiff as the APC senatorial candidate, de-list the name of any other candidate and upload the name of the plaintiff within seven days.
However, Akpabio, in a statement he personally signed, said: “My attention has been drawn to the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal Abuja Division, directing the INEC to delist my name from their list as the APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the forthcoming 2023 elections.
“It is instructive to mention that I was not a party in the said appeal though orders were made against me and my interest.
“Whilst awaiting a copy of the said judgement to be made available to me and any other interested party, it is important to state that I am a lawyer by training and a law-abiding citizen of this country and I am bound by our laws and judgments emanating from our courts, including the one under reference.
“My lawyers, on my advice and brief, have commenced the scrutiny of the contents of the judgment as read, for the purposes of seeking appropriate legal redress.
“I am aware that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has the final say in these matters. I therefore, strongly advise my supporters, APC members and all my constituents to remain calm and law-abiding, as they continue their campaigns for the successes of the APC in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large.”
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Donatus Uwaezeoke Okorowo, had, last September 23, dismissed suit filed by DIG Ekpoudom (retired) seeking to compel INEC to publish his name as the APC candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
The trial judge had then declared that the matter brought before him bordered on the internal affairs of a party and, as such, the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Justice Okorowo dismissed the suit as he further held that the primary which produced Ekpoudom and on which he relied on to actualise his ambition was not a valid primary of the APC.