January 20, (THEWILL) – The Supreme Court has declared former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the February 25 election for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District
The judgement followed an appeal filed against a ruling of an appellate court, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Udom Ekpoudom, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, as the authentic candidate of the party for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial election
The Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial ticket of the APC has been the subject of intense litigation following the party’s declaration of Akpabio as its flagbearer.
INEC had refused to recognise the former Akwa Ibom State Governor as a candidate and insisted that the Commission did not monitor the primary election, which produced him as a candidate for the senatorial election.
While the APC had challenged the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which sacked Akpabio as its candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, the apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices on Friday, quashed the ruling of the lower court, which nullified Akpabio’s candidacy.
In the lead judgement read by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the apex court held that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to meddle in the issue of nomination of candidate for an election, which it said was within the purview of an internal affair of a political party.