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Court orders INEC to recognise Akpabio as A’Ibom APC N’West senatorial candidate

By Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
16 September 2022   |   5:08 am
Federal High court, presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite, has ordered Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish the name of Godswill Akpabio as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress...

Godswill Akpabio

Federal High court, presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite, has ordered Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish the name of Godswill Akpabio as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District in next year’s election.

The court, yesterday, held that INEC acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name when it was submitted to it by the APC as its candidate.

Justice Nwite held that Akpabio was validly nominated as the Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District candidate of the APC from the primary conducted by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on June 9, 2022.

The judge declared that INEC “is bound by the provisions of Section 29 (3) of the Electoral Act to publish only the personal particulars of the candidate of the first plaintiff for the Akwa-Iborn North/West Senatorial District elections in the person of the second plaintiff (Akpabio) as received from the first plaintiff.

The judge also declared that INEC cannot publish any other name or particulars of any other candidate as candidate of the APC for the Akwa-lbom North/West Senatorial District elections, “except as nominated, submitted and received from the first plaintiff (APC)”.

He then ordered INEC to publish the name and particulars of Akpabio as the candidate of the APC for the Akwa-Iborn North/West Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections as nominated and submitted to it by the party.

The judgment was on the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1011/2022 filed and prosecuted for the APC and Akpabio (first and second plaintiffs) by a team of lawyers, which included Chief Umeh Kalu (SAN), Valentine Offia, Imo Akpan and Adekunle Kosoko.

INEC, the sole defendant, was represented by Alhassan Umar, (SAN).
Justice Nwite rejected INEC’s claim that it declined to monitor the primary conducted by APC on June 9, which produced Akpabio as the party’s candidate, because it had monitored the one conducted on May 27.

The judge faulted INEC for electing to monitor the May 27 primary conducted by an illegal faction of the party led by Augustine Ekanem as against the June 9 primary authorised and conducted by the APC NWC, an organ of the party authorised by law to conduct such primaries.

Justice Nwite said: “I am of the view that the defendant (INEC) cannot choose and impose a candidate on a political party. The fact that INEC chose to monitor an illegal primary and produce a report, cannot give it legitimacy.”

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