Court nullifies Akwa Ibom APC governorship primary

The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo has nullified the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election that produced Akanimo Udofia as the flag bearer of the party in Akwa Ibom State for next year’s general elections.

The presiding judge, Justice Agatha Okeke, ordered that a fresh primary poll be conducted within 14 days of the judgment. “Within fourteen days only, the party (APC) should conduct fresh primary” the court said.

One of the aspirants in the Akwa Ibom APC governorship primary held on May 26 2022, Senator Ita Enang had sued Akanimo Udofia, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the first, second and third defendants respectively, challenging the legitimacy of the conduct of the primary.

In determining the substantive suit, the judge noted that the APC Governorship Election Committee violated the laid down provisions of the electoral act 2022 as amended.

The judge also noted that there was no evidence before the court that the procedures adopted by the second defendant (APC) was held. Justice Okeke also held that the aspirants were not given equal opportunity to campaign.

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She resolved that the weight of evidence before the court showed that no election was held and that the nomination of Obong Akanimo Udofia “was null and void and therefore set aside.”

“No APC governorship primary election was held in Akwa Ibom. Therefore, the nomination of the first defendant (Udofia) as the governorship candidate did not comply with the Electoral Act of 2022,” the judge held.

The judge described the Akwa Ibom governorship primary election held on May 26, 2022, as a “sham,” adding that “the second defendant (APC) is restrained from presenting its candidate (Udofia) to the third defendant (INEC) for the 2023 general election.

Justice Okeke ordered that “the second defendant shall, within 14 days, conduct a fresh election of the judgment and also ordered that the first defendant (Udofia) be disqualified from participating in the fresh primary”. Speaking with journalists at the court premises, the plaintiff’s counsel, Nsikak Akpan, expressed satisfaction over the judgement.