I developed an interest in the case of Senator Godswil Akpabio for the Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District and personally and got the following information which is verifiable and helpful.
Most people who were commenting on this case did not know whatsoever of the facts of the case. The position of the law remains that the party has the sole right to determine who shall be their flag bearer in any political contest.
Unless their internal rules are not followed or there is a breach of any legal instruments it will be difficult to take away that power from the political parties. Onuoha’s case on the issue is still valid till tomorrow.
From the look of things, INEC may not appeal the judgement of the Federal High Court directing it to recognize Akpabio (which it has done) as their averments as to the role of the INEC office in Uyo helped resolve the issue at hand in favour of Senator Akpabio. They said that they were informed but their office in Uyo refused to do the monitoring as required by law.
Unfortunately, sentiments no matter how heavy or strong cannot alter the state of the law at any time.
There were two factional structures of APC in Akwa Ibom State. One faction was led by Obong Stephen Leo Ntukekpo and the other by one Mr Austin Ekanem.
On March 16, 2022, Obong Steve Ntukekpo challenged APC and two others in suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1635/2021. The Federal High Court Abuja ruled in favour of Ntuekekpo and declared him as the Authentic Chairman of APC in Akwa Ibom State. APC filed an appeal on the matter after which they withdrew the said appeal and it was subsequently dismissed.
APC under the leadership of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, therefore, recognised the Chairmanship of Leo Ntukekpo in Akwa Ibom State.
Unfortunately, the INEC office in Akwa Ibom refused to recognise the leadership of Leo Ntukekpo as APC chairman in the state despite the court judgement but preferred to recognise the parallel faction led by Austin Ekanem.
Then, APC scheduled a senatorial primary in which INEC was notified to monitor but INEC chose to go and monitor the factional one held by the unrecognised leadership of Ekanem and we were meant to understand that one retired DIG Ekpoudom emerged as a winner in that election.
The senatorial election of the leadership of Leo Ntukekpo could not hold as scheduled due to security concerns and was rescheduled to the 9th of June, 2022.
Senator Godswill Akpabio participated physically in the election on the 9th of June in the Senatorial District and emerged as the winner.
INEC was notified of this process on the 9th of June but unfortunately, INEC Resident Commissioner refused to observe the process. INEC in their counter affidavit acknowledged that they were informed but that their office in Uyo refused to monitor the election.
The APC party having satisfied itself that they conducted a valid election in which their candidate emerged the winner, submitted the name of their candidate In the person of Senator Akpabio for North West Senatorial District.
Dr Ubani Monday Onyekachi, is the chairman of NBA-SPIDEL and writes from Lagos