By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered that Godswill Akpabio’s name be published by INEC as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District election.
Ruling on Thursday, Justice Emeka Nwite held that the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 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, who noted that the electoral umpire acted illegally, said INEC lacked power to have disqualified the 2nd plaintiff (Akpabio).
“I hereby declared that the defendant (INEC) publish the name of the 2nd plaintifff as the authentic candidate,” he said.
In the suit filed before Nwite, the APC and Akpabio are 1st and 2nd plaintiffs respectively while INEC is the sole defendant.
The electoral commission had recently cautioned the APC against its choice of candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial seat.
INEC said the name of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, submitted by the party remained invalid until the party followed due process.
Udom Ekpoudom had emerged as the party’s candidate in the primary alleged to have been supervised by INEC officials in the constituency.
However, the party submitted the name of Akpabio in his place.
INEC spokesperson, Festus Okoye, in an interview, however, said that the commission rejected the former minister because he was not the validly nominated candidate for the senatorial district.