The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has sacked the Executive Committee of the Akwa Ibom State All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Court presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo on Thursday, held that Stephen Leo Ntukekpo (Chairman), Uduakobong Peter Udoh (Secretary), Uko Obonodo Ini (Stats Women Leader) and others were duly elected as members of the Akwa Ibom State Executive Committee of the APC during the State Congress that took place on the 16th of October, 2021.
The Plaintiffs had approached the Federal High Court for sundry reliefs against the APC, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe and INEC, seeking these declarations, among others:
(1) That the Plaintiffs are the duly and democratically elected members of the Akwa – Ibom State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress having emerged victorious at the All Progressives Congress Akwa Ibom State Congress held on the 16th day of October, 2021,
(2) That the 1st – 3rd Defendants have no powers to jettison and/or substitute the Plaintiffs who were duly and democratically elected at the Akwa – Ibom State Congress with unelected persons chosen by the 1st – 3rd Defendants,
(3) Declaration that the purported substitution of the Plaintiffs by 1st – 3rd Defendants as members of the Akwa – Ibom State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, with unelected persons chosen by the 1st – 3rd Defendants, is unlawful and illegal.
The Court before reaching its judgment, wherein all the prayers of the Plaintiffs were granted, had considered and dismissed the several Preliminary Objections raised by the Defendants bordering on a lack of cause of action, the non – justiciability of the Suit and want of locus standi of the Plaintiffs.
The court in its decision found that that the actions of the Defendants in substituting the persons duly elected at the APC Akwa – Ibom State Congress amounted to impunity and was in breach of Section 223 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The Court equally condemned in strong terms the actions of the APC in purporting to swear – in the Augustine Ekanem led APC State Executive Committee, despite being aware of the pendency of the Suit; an act which the Court described as an attempt to overreach the Court before it could determine the case before it.
The Court then made some consequential Orders, reversing the issuance of the Certificates of Return and swearing – in of the Augustine Ekanem led Executive Committee and also Ordered the APC to forthwith issue Certificates of Return and to Swear – In the Plaintiffs, led by Stehen Leo Ntukekpo, as the duly elected members of the Akwa – Ibom State State Executive Committee of the APC, at the State Congress held on the 16th day of October, 2021.