Appeal court dismisses case against Akpabio


The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit filed by an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Frank Okon Daniel, seeking to upturn the election of the Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio.

In appeal No:CA/A/205/2011, Mr Okon had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Godswill Akpabio, calling for the cancellation of the Akwa Ibom State governorship primary of January 9, on the grounds that he was excluded as a gubernatorial aspirant.

But the legal team of Governor Akpabio, led by Paul Usoro, had insisted that the primary was duly concluded on January 15, 2011, with Mr Okon on the ballot and was shown live on television network across the country.

According to the counsel for Governor Akpabio, the suit was totally academic in nature, purposeless and undeserving of the court's judicial time, given the fact that Mr Okon's complaint was against the January 9, 2011 governorship primary, the results of which were cancelled by the PDP.

But counsel for Mr Okon had submitted that the complaint of being unlawfully excluded by the PDP in the gubernatorial primary election of January 9 to select a candidate had not, in any way, been addressed by the cancellation of the first primary and the conduct of the January 15 re-run election.

When the matter came up for hearing at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday, October 4, counsel for  Okon, led by L. Sanusi, had applied to the court to withdraw their appeal after issues had been joined and the parties had exchanged process documents.

The court had, accordingly, dismissed the appeal and awarded a cost of N40,000 in favour Governor Akpabio.

According to legal pundits, the implication of the matter being dismissed was that with the judgement, the case was completely closed.

It will be recalled that Governor Akpabio has enjoyed series of judicial victory in recent times.  The Court of Appeal in Calabar had, in a fortnight in a unanimous decision, ruled against the appeal filed by Akwa Ibom State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) gubernatorial candidate and his running mate, Senator John and Ime Umanah.