The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel of Justices, has affirmed the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, as the valid candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District election slated for February 25.
In the judgment read by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the apex court upheld the appeal filed by Akpabio challenging the Court of Appeal judgment that nullified his candidacy.
The Supreme Court held that it was the National Working Committee of a party that was empowered to conduct valid primaries for the selection of candidates.
The court ruled that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to meddle in the issue of nomination of candidate for an election since the nomination of candidates was an internal affair of a political party.
Also, the Apex Court held that the Court of Appeal erred when it assumed jurisdiction over the appeal filed by retired Assistant Inspector General of Police Udom Ekpoudom.
The court panel resolved 10 issues Akpabio raised before it in his favor and accordingly vacated the November 14, 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize Udom Ekpoudom as the authentic candidate of the APC for the senatorial contest.
The court applied the judgment to the other two appeals filed on the same issue by Akpabio and Ekpoudom, marked: SC/CV/1459/2022 and SC/CV/1539/2022.
The appeal, marked: SC/CV/1459/2022 was struck out on the grounds that in view of its decision in the appeal by the APC, it has become an academic exercise.
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