Justice Emeka Nwite of the federal high court Abuja Division on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish the name of the former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Akwa Ibom northwest senatorial district in 2023.
In the suit filed before Nwite, the APC and Akpabio are 1st and 2nd plaintiffs respectively while INEC is the sole defendant. In the judgement, Nwite held that that INEC’s refusal to accept and publish Akpabio’s name was in contradiction with the law, having received the name from the APC as its valid candidate
Nwite said INEC acted illegally adding that the commission lacked power to have disqualified the 2nd plaintiff (Akpabio). “I hereby declare that the defendant (INEC) publish the name of the 2nd plaintiff (Akpabio as the authentic candidate,” he ordered.
Recall that Akpabio was listed by the APC as candidate for Akwa Ibom northwest senatorial district. However, in the list published by INEC, his name was said to have been excluded. Recall also that the former minister was in the race for the party’s presidential ticket but dropped his bid for another candidate.
Prior to the presidential primary election on May 27, the former deputy inspector general of police, Mr. Udom Ekpoudom, won the primary election for Akwa Ibom northwest senatorial district. A parallel primary election 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. Recently, INEC had cautioned the APC against its choice of candidate for the Akwa Ibom northwest senatorial seat. It said Akpabio’s name submitted by the party remained invalid until the party followed due process.