APPEAL COURT AFFIRMS UDOM EKPOUDOM AS APC SENATORIAL CANDIDATE FOR AKWA IBOM NORTH WEST, THROWS OUT GODSWILL AKPABIO’S NAME

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed DIG Udom Udo Ekpoudom (rtd) as the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.

The appeal was filed by DIG Ekpoudom (rtd) challenging the failure of the APC (1st respondent) to submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC – 2nd respondent) as the Party’s candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District for the 2023 general elections.

The Justices of the Appeal Court in the suit marked: Ekpoudom V APC & INEC (CA/ABJ/CV/1055/2022) held that the plaintiff was the valid Candidate of the Party. The three-man Panel ordered INEC to immediately recognise the plaintiff as the APC Senatorial Candidate, de-list the name of any other Candidate and upload the name of the plaintiff within seven (7) days.

Recall that on September 23, the Federal High Court presided by Justice Donatus Uwaezeoke Okorowo, dismissed the suit filed by the plaintiff (Ekpoudom) compelling INEC to publish his name as the APC Candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial Zone.

Justice Okorowo held that the matter bordered on the internal affairs of a party and the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The Court held that the primary which produced Ekpoudom and on which he relied on to actualize his ambition was not a valid primary of the APC and thereafter dismissed the suit.

The lawsuit followed the emergence of Godswill Akpabio as the party’s candidate in the APC re-run primary poll held on June 8. The “uncommon Governor” participated in the Presidential Primary of the APC, before contesting the Senatorial ticket of the Zone.

Although INEC had recognised Ekpoudom as the APC candidate for the senatorial district for the 2023 election, the APC submitted Godswill Akpabio’s name as its candidate.

Ekpoudom, in the application, said he duly participated in the Akwa Ibom North West APC Senatorial District Primary Election held on May 27 and monitored by INEC in line with the 2023 election timetable and guidelines of the APC.

Dissatisfied with the High Court judgement, he unsurprisingly appealed, praying the penultimate court to recognise him as the duly elected candidate of the Party.

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