Supreme Court restores Akpabio as APC’s candidate for Akwa Ibom North

Our reporter/ The Supreme Court on Friday restored former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godwin Akpabio as the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Akwa Ibom North Senatorial District.

The Court of Appeal had on November 14, 2022, voided Akpabio’s candidacy.

But in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the apex court upheld the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja which in September last year granted a verdict in favour of the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

Justice Saulawa after reviewing the arguments canvassed by Akpabio said that his appeal was meritorious and allowed.

The judgment was on an appeal filed by Akpabio challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal Abuja, which set aside his victory at the Federal High Court Abuja.

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In arriving at the decision, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment said each of the 10 issues formulated by the appellant was resolved in his favour, and against the respondent.

The Supreme Court held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, adding that whatever decision arrived at by the court amounted to nullity.

A three-member panel of Justices led by Justice Danlami Senchi held that Akpabio failed to file a proof of arguments within the time provided by the rules.

The panel further ruled that Akpabio, having contested the presidential primary of the APC, could not participate in the valid primary of the party held on May 27 and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which produced Udom Ekpoudom as a candidate.

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But Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court Abuja had on September 22, 2022, ordered the INEC to reinstate Akpabio as APC’s candidate, being the candidate nominated by the party in the second primary of June 9.

 

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