The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, affirmed Akan Udofia as the duly nominated governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State.
A former senator, Ita Enang, had sought to nullify Mr Udofia’s nomination as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.
Delivering the judgement, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, held that Mr Udofia was a bonafide member of the APC when the party held the primary election.
Ms Kekere-Ekun held that a political party has the “prerogative” to grant anyone membership waivers.
“I am in full agreement with the lower court that Udofia was a member of the APC when he contested the primary and that the issue of a waiver is an internal affair of a party, which the court cannot inquire into,” she said.
Mr Enang had prayed the court to declare him as the authentic governorship flag bearer of the party on the ground that Mr Udofia was not an APC member as of May 27, 2022, when the party conducted the governorship primary.
The justice, after affirming Mr Udofia’s candidacy, held that Mr Enang’s case collapsed.
“Having held that the first respondent duly participated in the primary election, the foundation of the appellant case collapsed.
“The appeal, in my view, was rightly dismissed by the lower court,” Ms Kekere-Ekun said.
On November 14, 2022, the Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, set aside Mr Udofia’s nomination as the APC governorship candidate for the state.
The judge, Agatha Okeke, had ordered the APC to conduct a fresh primary within 14 days but barred Mr Udofia from participating in the new election.
Dissatisfied with Ms Okeke’s decision, Mr Udofia filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja. The appellate court on January 19 set aside the lower court’s judgement and restored his candidacy.
In its verdict, the appellate court faulted Ms Okeke’s judgement on the basis that the court erred in entertaining the matter in contravention of sections 97 and 98 of the Sheriffs Act.
Source: Peoples Gazette
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