Supreme Court affirms Akpabio as APC’s senatorial candidate

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

The Supreme Court on Friday, put paid to the legal dispute over the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election.

The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa on Friday, restored the former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio as the Senatorial candidate of the APC for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.

The Court of Appeal judgment delivered on November 14, 2022, which voided his candidacy was voided and set aside by the judgment of the apex court.

The Supreme Court, in the unanimous judgment, upheld the September 2022 judgment of the Federal High Court Abuja 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 was allowed.

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In view of the Friday decision on the appeal filed by Akpabio, Justice Saulawa held that, the two other appeals in the matter became academic and while one of the appeals was dismissed, the other was struck out.

The APC had challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which sacked Akpabio as its candidate for the senatorial seat election holding on 25 February.

In Akpabio’s place, the appellate court ordered INEC to recognise Udom Ekpoudom, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, as the authentic candidate of the party for the Senatorial District.

Ume Kalu (SAN), who argued the APC’s appeal, urged the apex court to nullify the appellate court’s decision of 14 November 2022, and affirm Akpabio’s candidacy for the poll.

But Ekpoudom’s lawyer, Solomon Umoh (SAN), prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal and uphold his client’s candidacy.

The Akwa-Ibom North-West senatorial district ticket of the ruling APC has been the subject of intense litigation following the party’s declaration of Akpabio as its flagbearer.

Akpabio had lost out in the APC presidential primary in Abuja, but, APC had nominated him as its candidate for the senatorial election despite that he did not participate in the party’s senatorial primary election.

INEC had refused to recognise Akpabio as a candidate on the grounds of his not participating in the party’s primary election that It monitored.

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