A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, yesterday, declared the seat of a lawmaker in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Idongiset Ituen, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, vacant.
The affected lawmaker represented Itu State Constituency in the state House of Assembly.
The suit was filed by Mr. Ituen in September this year to pre-empt the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, from declaring his seat vacant.
Apart from the Speaker, other defendants in the suit were the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State.
The Speaker had filed a counterclaim, seeking for “a declaration that having defected from the PDP to APC before the expiration of the tenure of four years for which he was elected to serve, Ntuen has lost his seat in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
He further requested “An order of court directing Ituen to vacate the Itu State Constituency seat in the state House of Assembly with immediate effect
The prayers included “An order of court restraining the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly or any other person acting on his behalf (including the staff of the House of Assembly) from further recognising Ituen as a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
“An order of court directing INEC to immediately conduct a bye-election to fill the vacant seat of Itu State Constituency at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.”
The court presided over by F. O. Riman, dismissed the main suit and granted all the reliefs in the counterclaim.
Mr. Ituen’s lawyer, Uyo-Obong Jumbo of Juris Advocates, said they were filing an appeal for a stay of execution of the judgment.