February 8, 2023

Akwa Ibom Gov Poll: Ita Enang drags APC to Supreme Court

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

An aggrieved governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, Senator Ita Enang has dragged the All Progressives Congress, APC, before the Supreme Court, seeking to be declared the authentic candidate of the party for the forthcoming election.

Senator Enang, in the eight-grounds of appeal he lodged before the apex court, equally sought an order to compel the the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize him as the gubernatorial flag-bearer of the party in the state.

In processes he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, SAN, the former lawmaker urged the apex court to set aside the judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had on January 19, upheld the nomination of Mr. Akanimo Udofia as the governorship candidate of the APC for the election.

He contended that the appellate court panel led by Justice Elfreda Williams-Daudu, erred in law and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice, when it allowed Udofia’s appeal and nullified an earlier judgement of the Uyo Division of the Federal High Court, which had on November 14, 2022, affirmed him as the authentic candidate of the party for the gubernatorial contest.

According to Senator Enang, the appellate court “came to a perverse decision”, when it held that the trial court merely brushed aside a preliminary objection that both Udofia and the APC raised against his substantive suit marked FHC/UY/CS/114/2022.

He faulted the appellate court for dismissing the suit he entered against Udofia’s nomination on the premise that it failed to comply with provisions of Sections 97 and 98 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, and therefore invalid.

Senator Enang argued that Udofia was not a bonafide member of the APC, saying it was wrong for the appellate court to okay his nomination on the ground that he was granted a waiver by the party to contest the primary election that held on May 26, 2022.

He maintained that Article 31.3(ii) of the APC constitution made the grant of waiver by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party.

The appellant contended that there was no evidence to show that either the NEC or the NWC, held any meeting to approve the grant of waiver to Udofia.

Consequently, he urged the apex court to invalidate the purported waiver that was signed by the National Secretary of the APC, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

The appellant is among other things, seeking an order of the Supreme Court, declaring him as the gubernatorial candidate of the 1st Respondent (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, “being the only member of the 1st Respondent that scored the highest number of votes at the primary of 26th May, 2022”.

An order restoring the Federal High Court judgement delivered on November 14, 2022.

As well as, “An order directing the 3rd Respondent (INEC) to receive and publish the name of the Appellant as the candidate of the 1st Respondent for the gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State”.