A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, on Monday, cancelled the All Progressives Congress governorship primary election which produced Obong Udofia as the party flag bearer for the 2023 gubernatorial election.
A former aide to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and one of the aspirants in the APC governorship primary held on May 26, 2022, Senator Ita Enang, had dragged Udofia, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission to court, challenging the legitimacy of the conduct of the primary.
Enang had insisted that Udofia and Mr Victor Antai, as the APC governorship and deputy candidates, respectively, were not captured in the governorship list released by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2023 general elections.
Delivering judgement in Uyo, the presiding judge, Justice Agatha Okeke, ordered that a fresh primary of the party be conducted within 14 days
“Within 14 days only, the party (APC) should conduct fresh primary” the court said.
Justice Okeke held the APC Governorship Election Committee violated the laid down provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended, adding that there was no evidence before the court that the procedures adopted by the second defendant (APC) in conducting the said primary was in line with the Electoral Act.
The court held that from the evidence before it, the aspirants were not given equal opportunity to campaign.
It, therefore, held that the weight of evidence before it showed that no election was held and that the nomination of Udofia “was null and void and therefore set aside.”
The judge described the Akwa Ibom Governorship Primary Election held on May 26, 2022, as a ‘sham,’ adding that “the second defendant (APC) was restrained from presenting its candidate (Udofia) to the third defendant (INEC) for the 2023 general election.”
Justice Okeke ordered that “the second defendant shall, within 14 days of the judgement, conduct a fresh election, and also ordered that the first defendant (Udofia) be disqualified from participating in the fresh primary.”