Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State and minister of Niger Delta affairs, has received a reprieve as the court appears to have resolved the issue surrounding his desire to run for the Senate.
This comes as the court on Thursday directed that the former governor be recognized as the All Progressives Party’s (APC) nominee for the Akwa Ibom senatorial north seat.
Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja directed the recognition and publishing of Akpabio’s name as the APC candidate for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the forthcoming election.
Justice Nwite found that INEC had violated the law by rejecting and failing to publish Akpabio’s name, despite the fact that the APC had submitted it as their candidate, in his decision on Thursday.
“I hereby declare that the defendant (INEC) publish the name of the 2nd plaintifff as the authentic candidate,” he said.
The APC and Akpabio are the first and second plaintiffs in the lawsuit brought before Nwite, while INEC is the only defendant.
The APC had lately received a warning from INEC on the candidate it had selected for the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial seat.
According to the commission, the name of the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, that the party submitted remained invalid unless the party followed the correct protocol.
Udom Ekpoudom, the party’s nominee, had won the primary, which was purportedly monitored by INEC employees in the district.
However, the party used Akpabio’s name instead of his own.
INEC spokesman Festus Okoye stated in an interview that the reason the former minister was disqualified was because he had not been properly nominated for the senatorial district.