January 20, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has validated the candidacy of Akanimo Udofia, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the March 11 guber election in Akwa Ibom State.
A three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Elfreda Williams – Dawodu, upheld the primary election which produced Udofia, as authentic APC flag-bearer of the Party’s ticket and set aside the judgement of a lower court.
A federal High Court in Uyo, on November 14, nullified the nomination of Udofia as the governorship candidate of the APC in Akwa Ibom.
The trial judge, Agatha Okeke, had ordered the APC to conduct a fresh governorship primary within two weeks, but barred Udofia from participating in the new primary.
The case was instituted by former Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang.
Enang had prayed the federal high court to declare him the validly elected candidate of the party, arguing that Udofia was not a member of the party as of the time of the primary.
Dissatisfied, Udofia challenged the judgement of the lower court at the appeal court.
In the appeal, Enang was the 1st respondent, the APC 2nd, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 3rd, while Akanimo Udofia was the appellant.
Also, in another appeal filed by the APC through its lawyer, J.Y. Musa, SAN, on the same matter, Enang and Udofia are 1st and 2nd respondents respectively, while INEC is 3rd.
However the three-man panel of justices granted all the reliefs sought by the appellants and also held that 1st respondent has no locus standi to sue and, therefore, affirm the candidacy of Akanimo Udofia.
In unanimous judgement, the court, therefore, held the appeal succeeds as the judgement of the lower court is set aside and the four reliefs sought by the appellant granted.
Justice Williams Dawodu, while delivering the judgement, held that the lower court erroneously assumed jurisdiction over the matter.