By Taiye Agbaje
(NAN) A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, dismissed the suit filed by Udom Ekpoudom challenging the APC’s failure to summit his name to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District for the 2023 general elections.
Delivering judgment, Justice Donatus Okorowo, held that the plaintiff’s action was not justiciable, hence, the suit was incompetent.
Justice Okorowo, who said that the matter bordered on the internal affairs of a party, held that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ekpoudom, a retired DIG, was the plaintiff in the case.
He had sued the APC and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio as 1st and 2nd defendants in the suit.
The lawsuit followed the emergence of Akpabio as the party’s candidate in the APC re-run primary poll held on June 8.
The state’s APC Chairman, Stephen Ntukekpo, had said he was directed by the party at the national level to carry out a re-run over alleged infractions in which Akapbio had emerged winner with 478 votes, while Ekpoudom got just three votes.
NAN reports that in the earlier primary conducted on May 27 in the state, Ekpoudom won the poll though the ex-minister did not contest, having vied for the APC’s presidential election in which Bola Tinubu emerged the winner.
Although INEC had recognised Ekpoudom as the APC candidate for the senatorial district for the 2023 election, the APC submitted Akpabio’s name as its candidate.
The APC insisted on Akpabio as its candidate, a situation which prompted Ekpoudom to challenge the party in court.
Ekpoudom, in the application, said he duly participated in the Akwa Ibom North West APC Senatorial District Primary Election held on May 27 and monitored by INEC in line with the 2023 election timetable and guidelines of the APC.
He prayed the court to recognise him as the duly elected candidate of the party.
NAN reports that a brother judge in the FHC, Abuja, Justice Emeka Nwite, had, on Sept. 15, ordered the INEC to accept and publish Akpabio’s name as the candidate of the APC for the 2023 Akwa Ibom North/West Senatorial District election.
Nwite, in a judgment, held that INEC’s refusal to accept and publish the name of the ex-minister was in contradiction with the law, having received the name from the APC as its valid candidate.
NAN reports that Akpabio’s name was among in the final list of national assembly candidates for the 2023 released by the electoral umpire on Tuesday.(NAN)