Court sacks Ekanem-led exco –

Court sacks Ekanem-led exco – The Sun Nigeria

By Vincent Kalu

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, has sacked the Augustine Ekane- led Executive Committee Officers (Exco) of the Akwa Ibom State All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued on them.

Justice Taiwo meanwhile ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to Stephen Leo Ntukekpo as the Akwa Ibom State chairman of the APC.

The judge held that the inauguration of the Augustine Ekanem- led state Exco of the party was an act of illegality.

In their stead, the court equally ordered the electoral body to issue a certificate of return to Uduakobong Udoh and Uko Ini as the state secretary and Woman Leader of the state chapter of the APC respectively.

Justice Taiwo made the declaratory orders while delivering judgment in the suit brought against the party, members of the National Caretaker Committee and INEC.

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Specifically, the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/635/2021 and filed by Ntukepo, Udoh and Ini, listed the APC, the National Chairman Caretaker/Extra ordinary Convention Planning Committee of APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni; Secretary, caretaker/Extra ordinary conventional planning committee of the APC Senator John James Akpanudoedehe and the INEC.

Justice Taiwo, in his judgment, declared the plaintiffs as the dully and democratically elected State Executive Committee Officers (EXCO) of the party in Akwa Ibom state.

The court agreed with the submission of counsel to the plaintiffs, Umeh Kalu (SAN), that by the provisions to section 223(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010, Article 20 of the APC Constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the APC state congresses 2021, made pursuant to the party’s constitution, “the defendants cannot refuse to recognise the plaintiffs who were dully elected at the APC Akwa-Ibom congress, which held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom state on October 16, 2021, as members of the Akwa-Ibom State Executive Committee of the APC.

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Justice Taiwo held that the acts of the defendants to replace the plaintiffs with unelected persons contravened sections 223(1)(a) of the constitution, section 85 (3) of the Electoral Act 2010, Article 20 of the APC constitution and the guidelines for the conduct of the APC state Congresses.

That the purported substitution of the plaintiffs as members of the Akwa-Ibom State Executive Committee of the APC, with unelected persons chosen by the 1st to 3rd defendants, and, who did not participate at the state congress of the party held on October 16, 2021 is unlawful and illegal.

Justice Taiwo noted that, “ for our democracy to grow, our Constitution must serve as a red card to anyone who wants to derail it to satisfy his personal interest.

He added that, “ a political party cannot be allowed to act or conduct itself against its own Constitution.”

Niyi Akintola, SAN, represented the 1st and 2nd Defendants; Solomon Umoh, SAN, represented the 3rd Defendant, while Alhassan Umar, SAN, represented INEC.

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