Politics

Akwa Ibom: Sacked APC gubernatorial candidate to appeal ruling

Akanimo Udofia, the disqualified All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor of Akwa Ibom State, has stated that he would appeal the court's decision nullifying his nomination for the 2023 election.

Akanimo Udofia, the disqualified All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor of Akwa Ibom State, has stated that he would appeal the court’s decision nullifying his nomination for the 2023 election.

On Monday, the Federal High Court in Uyo invalidated Udofia’s nomination as the APC’s candidate for governor in Akwa Ibom State.

The judge, Agatha Okeke, ordered the APC to hold a new primary for governor within two weeks but prohibited Udofia from participating.

Ita Enang, a former presidential aide and aspirant in the primary, filed the lawsuit. Enang argued that Udofia was not a party member at the time of the primary, pleading with the court to declare him the validly elected candidate.

Udofia, an entrepreneur, was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, where he purchased the party form to run for governor before defecting to the APC days before its governorship primary. He became the party’s candidate for governor under controversial circumstances.

Justice Okeke ruled on Monday that Udofia did not meet the requirements of the electoral laws, which state that he must have been an APC member for at least 30 days before the primary. The judge also ruled that the waiver he allegedly received from the APC was not signed by “any known persons.”

Udofia, through the General Director of his campaign committee, Don Etim, described the verdict as a “travesty of justice.”

Etim deemed it “shocking” that Justice Okeke reached her conclusions despite evidence that Udofia resigned his membership in the PDP via a letter dated 1 May and sent it to his Ward Chairman.

“On 12 May 2022, the National Working Committee of the APC graciously granted his request for a waiver to participate in the APC governorship primary in Akwa Ibom State per Article 31.4(ii) of the amended APC Constitution.”

According to Etim, “the force tyranny that has held the state down is not happy, hence the grand conspiracy to remove Udofia from the ballot and ensure there is no viable alternative to their attempt to impose a vastly unpopular candidate” on the state’s citizens.

Etim urged his supporters to remain calm as they appealed the verdict.