By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Determined to retain his seat, former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday, gave reasons why the Federal High Court in Abuja should not sack him from the National Assembly for joining the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Akpabio told the court that he moved to the APC, after he was nearly rendered “a political orphan” by his former party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He told the court that he saw the handwriting on the wall sometime in July 2018, when he was suspended at the ward level by PDP.
He had prayed the court not to declare his seat vacant in line with section 68 (I) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as emended), noting that he was eventually expelled at the local government level in August 2018, in a bid to frustrate his bid to be re-elected to represent Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district.
According to him, the treatment meted out to him, when juxtaposed with the calendar the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued for the 2019 general election, “the intention of the PDP was to render him with a fiat accompli so as not to have a political party to contest under as his nomination must start from the Ward level.”
Akpabio’s lawyer, Mr. S. Ameh, SAN, therefore, prayed the court to distinguish his client’s case from that of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and 52 other lawmakers whose continued stay at the National Assembly is being challenged on the premise that they defected from the political party that sponsored their elections.
Meanwhile, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Jubril Okutekpa, SAN, yesterday, urged the court to disregard Akpabio’s explanations and punish him for engaging in “political prostitution.”