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Court orders fresh APC gov’ship primaries in Akwa Ibom

The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has held that a fresh governorship primary election be conducted by the All Progressives Congress…

The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has held that a fresh governorship primary election be conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) within 14 days.

The court nullified the primaries that saw the emergence of Akanimo Udofia.

While delivering the judgment on the case instituted by Senator Ita Enang, an APC governorship aspirant and former aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, the presiding judge, Justice Agatha Okeke, on Monday, ordered that the a fresh primary election be conducted within 14 days of the ruling.

“Within 14 days only, the party (APC) should conduct a fresh primary (election). The second defendant shall, within 14 days, conduct a fresh election of the judgment,” the judge said.

Enang had sued Udofia, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), challenging the legitimacy of the primaries conducted.

In determining the substantive suit, the judge noted that the APC Governorship Election Committee violated the laid down provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act as amended, saying there was no evidence before the court that the procedures adopted by the second defendant (APC) was held.

Justice Okeke held that the aspirants were not given equal opportunity to campaign, adding that the weight of evidence before the court showed that no election was held and that the nomination of Udofia is “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 said.

Describing the governorship primaries held on May 26, 2022, as a “sham,” the judge said, “the second defendant (APC) is restrained from presenting its candidate (Udofia) to the third defendant (INEC) for the 2023 general elections.”

Before the ruling, Udofia’s name was excluded on INEC’s list as the APC candidate for Akwa Ibom State.

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