The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting at the Apo, Abuja Judicial Division, on Friday struck out case by Senator Godswill Akpabio, following his defeat by former Deputy Governor, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, in the National Assembly election for Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District.
Akpabio, former Senate Minority leader was defeated by Ekpenyong, who polled over 118,000 votes as against his over 83,000. He further filed a case in court with suit no: FCT\HC\M\2680\19, to seek an order compelling INEC to review the result.
But the presiding Judge, Justice Valentine Ashi on Friday dismissed the matter, following application by the Counsel to Akpabio, Mr. Sunday Ameh (SAN), that the case be withdrawn forthwith. Akpabio’s lawyer informed the court on Friday that his client had resolved to withdraw the application for judicial review. Also speaking, the lawyer representing INEC, Tanimu Inuwa, told journalists that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the application since it is an election matter.
“When a person requests for the enforcement of his right through an order of mandamus, what it means is that once that request is granted, parties are to stay proceedings until that right has been enforced. ”
That’s what it means,” Mr Inuwa said. Reacting, the senator-elect Ekpenyong commended his kinsman for taking the right decision to pull out from the case. He said: “No man can challenge the divine mandate freely endorsed by the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. “Akpabio should demonstrate the good spirit of sportsmanship by willingly accepting defeat in good faith instead of overheating the polity by giving the people false impression of rigging during the contest”.
“In 2007, even when he rigged the elections and won, I, as one of the contestants accepted defeat and congratulated him.
“In 2011, I had done everything to go for Senate but he tricked me to step down for another person, even when I and the former Minister of Petroleum, Atuekong Don Etiebet, had knelt down to beg then President Goodluck Jonathan, to give him (Akpabio) soft landing to go for a second term.
“When I did all of these, I was conscious of the fact that there must be one governor at a time and that was his own time as designed by God. “So this current mandate for the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District has also been ordained by God for me to lead the people of my zone and to show them leadership direction from the Red Chambers in the next four years.
“We are a highly Republican people. We don’t have what they called Dynasty in other places. “In Annang ethnic nationality, leadership must evolve for the dividends of democracy to spread across all the 10 Local Government Areas that constitute the Senatorial District.”
“Therefore, I am assuring the people that I will run for only one term of impactful and purposeful leadership that will ensure every facets of the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is touched by serious transformation and socio-economic development”