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Court Of Appeal; Sacks Akpabio As APC Senatorial Candidate

The Court of Appeal has nullified the candidacy of the former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, as the All Progressives Congress, APC, senatorial candidate for Akwa-Ibom North/West District in the 2023 General Elections.

The judgment was delivered on Monday, November 14, 2022, evening in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Recall that the Federal High Court had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognise Akpabio as the APC Senatorial candidate. Justice Emeka Nwite, the lead judge then, held that INEC acted illegally by refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name after it was sent by APC, following which it ordered INEC to accept and publish Akpabio’s name as APC senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North/West senatorial district in 2023.

However, the appeal court has set aside the judgement,Some panel of justices, led by Justice Danlami Senchi, ruled that Akpabio failed to file a proof of arguments within the time provided by the court rules. The panel further held that Akpabio, being a presidential aspirant 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.

 Akpabio was in the race for the party’s presidential ticket but dropped his bid for another candidate. Prior to the presidential primary on May 27, Udom Ekpoudom, former deputy inspector-general of police (DIG), won the APC primary for Akwa Ibom north-west senatorial district. A parallel primary was also conducted and won by Ekperikpe Ekpo, but was later cancelled over irregularities. A rerun conducted on June 8 was said to have produced Akpabio as the winner of the exercise.

Considering the matter at hand, INEC however excluded the APC from its list of candidates published in June. INEC spokes person Festus Okoye  had said the commission is not under obligation to publish the names of candidates submitted by political parties if there are questions over the validity of primaries featuring such persons.The party involved in the conflict has since being in court over their representatives in the election.Godswill Akpabio had earlier bought the N100,000,000 Presidential form and then no records was seen or an evidence prior to the senatorial form of the APC.

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