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PDP to Court: Akpabio is our guber candidate

BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA—The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that nothing would make it consider any other person to fly its gubernatorial flag in Akwa Ibom State, saying the incumbent governor of the state, Godswil Akpabio, remained its candidate.

The party stated this on a day it instructed its National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke, to ask the high court to hands-off a suit seeking to void Akpabio’s candidacy on the ground that he emerged through an illegal primaries.

A gubernatorial aspirant of the party in Akwa Ibom State, Engr Frank Okon Daniel, had gone before the high court praying it to disqualify Governor Akpabio from standing election under the PDP platform come April.

He specifically asked the court to “restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from accepting or, in any way, acting upon nomination of any person, particularly the 3rd defendant, Governor Akpabio, herein purportedly elected at the said primaries that held in Uyo, pending the determination of the suit”.

He alleged that he and other aspirants were shut out from participating in the process, as well as in a subsequent re-run primaries that he said was conducted in the state on January 15.

However, the PDP, in a preliminary objection it raised against the suit yesterday, maintained that it was satisfied with the outcome of a re-run primaries that it said was conducted in that state on January 15, 2011, where Akpabio purportedly emerged winner.

The party told the high court to strike out the suit, stressing that there was no reasonable cause of action to warrant its pendency, since the subject matter bothered on the initial primaries held in the state on January 9, 2011, which it said was duly cancelled by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party.

According to the PDP, “pursuant to the complaint/petition from the plaintiff of him being unlawfully excluded from participating in Akwa Ibom State governorship primary election held on January 9, the NWC of the party as the final decision taking organ of the PDP in respect of primary elections, resolved that a re-run election be held in the interest of fairness and justice in Akwa Ibom State.

“The 3rd defendant, Akpabio, was informed of the re-run on January 14, just as other aspirants were informed.

“The said re-run was held on January 15, where after all valid votes had been collated and counted, the 3rd defendant emerged the winner of the election”, the party insisted.

Efforts by the PDP lawyer to tender six separate exhibits that it said would convince the court, into evidence, was vehemently resisted by counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Andem E. Ndem, who contended that he was not served with the document before it was sought to be tendered.

He asked for time to study the said exhibits to enable him file a corresponding counter-affidavit against its admissibility.
Consequently, presiding Justice, Abdul Kafarati, adjourned the case till February 9 to enable parties in the suit adopt their written addresses.


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