A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to acknowledge and publish Godswill Akpabio’s name as the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the 2023 Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District election.
Justice Emeka Nwite, in a judgment, held that INEC’s refusal to acknowledge and publish Akpabio’s name was in contradiction with the law, having gotten the name from the APC as its valid candidate.
Nwite, who said that the electoral umpire acted illegally, said the commission lacked the power to have disqualified the 2nd plaintiff (Akpabio).
“I hereby declared that the defendant (INEC) publish the name of the 2nd plaintiff as the authentic candidate,” he said.
In the suit filed before Nwite, the APC and Akpabio are first and second plaintiffs separately, while INEC is the sole litigant.
INEC had as of late advised the APC against its decision of candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-west Senatorial seat.
The commission said the name of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, put together by the party stayed invalid until the party followed due process.
Udom Ekpoudom had emerged as the party’s candidate in the primary, and claimed to have been supervised by INEC’s officials in the constituency.
But the party presented the name of Akpabio in his place.
INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, in an interview, in any case, said that the commission rejected the former minister because he was not the validly nominated candidate for the senatorial district.