Court Sacks Akwa Ibom APC EXCO And Declares New Chairman
On Thursday, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to re-elect Stephen Ntukekpo as state chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom (APC).
News Agency of Nigeria
The Augustine Ekanem-led Executive Committee Officers (EXCO) of the APC were terminated by the court, which also ordered INEC to revoke the Certificate of Return granted to them.
The inauguration of the Augustine Ekanem-led state EXCO of the party, according to Justice Taiwo, was unconstitutional.
The judge also ordered the electoral board to give Certificates of Return to Uduakobong Peter Udoh, the state’s secretary, and Uko Obonodo Ini, the party’s women leader, respectively.
While delivering judgment in the suit filed against the party, members of the National Caretaker Committee, and INEC, he made the declaratory orders.
Stephen Ntukepo, Uduakobong Udoh, and Uko Obonodo Ini filed the FHC/ABJ/CS/635/2021 action, according to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN).
They named the APC as the first defendant, followed by Governor Mai Mala Buni (National Chairman Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC), Sen. John Akpanudoedehe (Secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC), and the INEC as the fourth defendant.
The plaintiffs were declared by Taiwo to be the party’s duly and democratically elected State Executive Committee Officers (EXCO) in Akwa Ibom.
The court concurred with the plaintiffs’ counsel, Umeh Kalu, SAN, position.
Citing Section 223(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010, Article 20 of the APC Constitution, and the APC state guidelines for conduct, he said the defendants could not refuse to recognize the plaintiffs as members of the state’s Executive Committee of the APC, who were duly elected at the APC Akwa-Ibom congress held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state on Oct. 16, 2021.
He ruled that the defendants’ act of replacing plaintiffs who had been legitimately and democratically elected at the party’s state congress with unelected people was unlawful.
“That the purported substitution of the plaintiffs as members of the Akwa-Ibom State Executive Committee of the APC, with unelected persons chosen by the 1st to 3rd defendants, and, who did not participate at the state congress of the party held on Oct.16, 2021 is unlawful and illegal,” he said.
Taiwo directed the INEC to deal exclusively with the plaintiffs and not with anyone else posing as legitimately and democratically elected members of the APC’s Akwa-Ibom EXCO.
He also made “an order restraining the 1st to 3rd defendants or whosoever, however, named from interfering with the functions of the plaintiffs as members of the state EXCO of the APC.”
The judge said that “for our democracy to grow, our constitution must serve as a red card to anyone who wants to derail it to satisfy his personal interest.”
He stated that a political party cannot act or behave in a manner that is contrary to its own constitution.
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