Obong Akan Udofia’s candidature as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor of Akwa Ibom State has been affirmed by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel led by Justice Elfreda Williams-Daudu ruled in favour of Udofia’s appeal. It reversed the original decision by Justice Agatha Okeke of the Uyo division of the Federal High Court, which had been issued on November 14, 2022.
Senator Ita Enang, a former presidential adviser, had petitioned the court for a new primary election after the one that produced Udofia was declared invalid. Justice Okeke agreed with the petition and ordered a new primary election to be held within 14 days.
As the lead judge, Justice Mohammed Idris concluded that the Federal High Court’s ruling lacked legitimacy.
Justice Idris ruled that the plaintiff lacked the necessary locus standi to file the action before the Federal High Court.
Justice Danlami Senchi, the panel’s third member, concurred with the verdict.
Udofia’s appeal was upheld, and he was given all four reliefs he requested. He is the official APC candidate, and the court has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce his candidature.
The appeals court ruled that the lower court erred by exercising jurisdiction in violation of Sections 97 and 98 of the Sheriffs and civil process Act. In addition, they ruled that Akan Udofia had a valid appeal and mandated that INEC announce him as the APC’s legitimate nominee for governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Mr Udofia’s nomination was overturned in the lower court, and he was disqualified from running in a new primary.