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Appeal Court upholds Akwa Ibom Senator’s primaries election


Bassey Albert Akpan

The Court of Appeal in Calabar, Cross River State, has upheld the December 14 party primaries election that produced Senator Bassey Albert of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a unanimous decision that lasted for over two hours yesterday, the judges overturned the ruling of the Federal High Court, Uyo that declared Bassey Etim as winner.

The Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, had in February sacked Albert, who represents Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District.

However, Etim, who claimed to be the winner of the party’s primary election, and was wrongly substituted with Albert, had taken the senator to the high court.

But Albert had challenged the decision of the lower court in the Appeal Court, Calabar.Delivering judgment, Justice S. J. Adah, with justices Iheme Nwosu and J. O. K. Oyewole, declared that Albert won the primary, as Etim lacked evidence to prove his case.

Etim’s counsel, Mba Okweni (SAN), however, said they will challenge the decision of the Appeal court at the Supreme Court. “Sincerely, I feel that the judgment should be tested further until the Supreme Court makes a pronouncement on the issue and some of the points that have been raised, which we feel are not properly placed. Then, we can have a final statement on it.

“We believe strongly that if things continue the way they are going, impunity in our political parties would continue,” he said.
Counsel to Albert, Oba Folaho Ojibara, said they had overwhelming evidence that his client was the legitimate winner of the primary election that eventually led to the 2015 general elections, which he won.

He said: “The issues before the justices of the Court of Appeal were very clearly narrowed down. The kind of evidence that the appellant presented before the lower court was so overwhelming and the Justices of the Court of Appeal latched on to the evidences.

“Recall that Etim was the plaintiff at the lower court and the law requires that he who has asked must prove and he was the one coming to court, saying that he won the primaries but unfortunately for him, he had nothing to support his claims.

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