September 19, 2017

Akwa Ibom North-East: Makarfi-led PDP withdraws appeal against Senator Akpan’s sack

Bassey Akpan

Bassey Albert

By Innocent Anaba

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has requested the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, to dismiss its appeal lodged against a judgment of the Federal High Court, Uyo, which sacked Mr. Albert Akpan from the National Assembly and declared Mr. Bassey Etim as his lawful replacement.

Bassey Albert

The party said the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, which sacked Akpan from the Senate for not being its authentic candidate for the 2015 Akwa Ibom North-East senatorial election, was not against its interest, hence unnecessary and ought not to have been filed in the first place.

In the notice of discontinuance of the appeal, PDP told the appellate court to “take notice that the appellant (PDP) hereby withdraws all the processes, including the notice of appeal and the brief of argument filed by the erstwhile counsel for the party.”

The decision of PDP under the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi to withdraw the appeal, it was learned, was in the spirit of ongoing reconciliation in the party as it prepares for the 2019 general elections.

UN groups hails decision

In a riposte, a United Nations human rights and election monitoring group, Peoples Right to Life Development Foundation, PELDEF, commended the Senator Makarfi-led PDP Caretaker Committee over the withdrawal, saying it amounted to promotion of internal democracy and respect for court judgment.

PELDEF said: “We must commend Senator Makarfi-led PDP Caretaker Committee for taking this positive step in withdrawing the appeal filed by the party against Etim, who the court declared the winner of 2015 Akwa Ibom North East senatorial district.

“Both Akpan and Bassey are members of PDP family. It was expected that PDP should not have filed such appeal in a matter between two members, especially after the court had entered its pronouncements on issues submitted before it.”

The judgment

A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo had on February 27, 2017, in a judgment, sacked Akpan from the National Assembly, ruling that he was not the valid and bonafide candidate of PDP, which won the 2015 general election for the Akwa Ibom North-East senatorial seat.

The high court, in the judgment on a pre-election dispute between a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Etim and Senator Akpan, over who was the authentic candidate of the party for the senatorial seat, specifically held that Akpan had wrongly and illegally represented the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly for 628 days.