A former minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio looks good to realise his suspected ambition of becoming the next senate president; but that is if he will remain on the ballot during next year’s election.
This will also depend on the ability of his party, the APC, to win the presidential election. However, the governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade is equally touted to be eyeing the senate presidency. Both of them have been in the senate before now.
Last week a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed the lawsuit filed by a former police deputy inspector-general of police, Udom Ekpoudom over the APC ticket for the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District election for lacking in merit. Akpabio and Ekpoudom are contesting the ticket.
Before last week, another court had ordered INEC to enlist Akpabio as candidate of the APC for the election, a development that Ekpoudom had described as suspiciously fraudulent.
With the second court judgement which dismissed Ekpoudom’s suit, there appears to be a temporary reprieve for Akpabio.
The court held that the primaries which produced Ekpoudom and on which he relied on to actualize his ambition was not a valid primary of the APC. Akpabio’s name has already been published on INEC’s final list of candidates for the election.
But Ekpoudom has told Akpabio not to celebrate yet because he is contesting the judgement at the court of appeal.
A statement by the campaign organisation of Ekpoudom said “Team Ekpoudom is aware of the two judgements of the Federal High Court Abuja, one mandating the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to include the name of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the APC candidate for the February 25, 2023 Senatorial election, and the second dismissing the suit filed by Rtd DIG Udom Ekpoudom.
“In accordance with the law, we have instructed our legal team to promptly Appeal both Justice Emeka Nwite’s judgement (FHC/ABJ/CS/1011/2022) of September 15, 2022 and Justice Donatus Okorowo’s judgement (FHC/ABJ/CS/1000/2022) of September 23, 2022.
“Consequently, we hereby urge all members of the Campaign Organization and APC supporters in the Senatorial District to remain calm and resolute as notwithstanding this “temporal setback”, we shall explore ALL legal and constitutional means to ensure that the mandate entrusted to DIG Udom Ekpoudom Rtd is legally protected.
“We want to assure our teaming supporters that we are determined to legally challenge Senator Akpabio up to the final level not minding his boastful ranting against the people of Abak federal constituency.”