Senator Akpabio Withdraws Application Challenging Election Defeat
Senator Godswill Akpabio has withdrawn his application seeking a judicial review of the National Assembly election in his senatorial district.
The trial judge Justice valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court who confirmed this today explained that the order of stay issued last Friday was not to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from carrying out its function but to enable an applicant to exercise his rights.
Mr Ashi said the media publications suggesting that he gave such an order were “overstretching” the facts of the matter treated by his court.
According to Mr Ashi, the nature of the application brought by Mr Akpabio should have been clarified by the media or the lawyers who provided information to the media.
The judge explained that Mr Akpabio’s application contained a request for an order of mandamus restraining parties and allowing Mr Akpabio to judicially review the processes that resulted in the declaration of Mr Ekpenyong as winner of the senatorial election.
The request for permission to review the process was granted by the court. It was that request that was later interpreted to mean that the court granted a restraining order.
Mr Ashi said the facts of the matter were twisted.
Mr Akpabio’s lawyer informed the court on Friday that his client had resolved to withdraw the application for judicial review.
The lawyer representing the 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 explained.
INEC had declared Mr Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom, winner of the election, against the incumbent senator, Godswill Akpabio, Naija News recalls.
According to the result announced by the returning officer, Peter Oban, a professor, Mr Akpabio scored 83,158 votes, while Mr Ekpenyong scored 118,215 votes.
Before the announcement of the election result, Mr Akpabio had petitioned INEC, alleging that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, was “considering reversing the announced cancellation of result from Obot Akara”.
Mr Ekpenyong is from Obot Akara.