Appeal Court Upholds Akpabio’s Election

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, as Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District after dismissing the appeal by the All Progressives Congress’ candidate in the March 28, 2015 poll, Chief Inibehe Okori.

The Justice Abdul-Rahman Oredola-led three-man panel in its judgment, held that Okori’s appeal against the verdict of the Akwa Ibom National and State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja which earlier affirmed Akpabio’s election October 14, 2015, lacked merit.

The Court of Appeal which narrowed the issues raised by Okorie to his allegation that Akpabio was not validly nominated as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the Akwa Ibom North West senatorial election, held that the Senate Minority Leader was validly sponsored by his party.

The tribunal earlier upheld the preliminary objection filed by Akpabio’s legal team, a decision which saw it striking out grounds five, six and seven of Okorie’s appeal.

The tribunal had also struck out the issues two and three formulated by the appellant from the grounds of appeal, holding that the issues were not distilled from the judgment of the tribunal.

The two remaining issues which Okorie was left with were merged together by the Court of Appeal ?since both of them bordered on the alleged non-qaulification of Akpabio to contest for the election.

Justice Oredola who read the lead judgment said the issue of non-qualification raised by Okori did not fall within the contemplation of section 66 (2)(b) of the Constitution which stipulates the criteria for qualification of a candidate to stand for an election.

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