The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has granted Senator Godswill Akpabio leave as an interested party to appeal the court’s ruling that ordered the Independent National Election Commission to remove his name as a duly elected All Progressives Congress candidate for Akwa Ibom. North-West Senatorial District (Ikot Ekpene) and replace it with DIG Udom Ekpoudom (retired).
This was contained in a statement issued by Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Jackson Udom, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday.
The Court of Appeal on Monday 14 November 2022, in the Appeal filed by Ekpoudom against APC and INEC, had declared that Ekpoudom was the APC candidate for the Akwa Ibom North Western (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District in the 2023 election. .
Akpabio’s lawyers, Umeh Kalu SAN and Berth Igwilo, SAN, had requested permission for Akpabio to join the appeal as he was not a party to the proceedings, to allow him to go to the Supreme Court for clemency.
Delivering judgment on the Motion for Leave after hearing from Mr. Umeh Kalu, SAN, Berth Igwilo, SAN, the three-man Panel of Court of Appeal Judges, led by the Hon. Judge UA Ogakwu unanimously agreed to Akpabio’s prayers, saying that he was satisfied that the applicant had ruled on compelling issues in his affidavit and other affidavits to justify the granting of leave to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling. .
The court further held that since Senator Godswill Akpabio’s name had previously been submitted to INEC as an APC candidate, it was imperative to allow him to appeal the court’s ruling rendered in his absence.
Commenting on the ruling, Umeh Kalu, SAN, praised the judges for their sound reasoning in the trial saying, “You cannot shave a person’s head in their absence.”
For this ruling, Akpabio is expected to approach the Supreme Court before the end of the week.