The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has granted leave to Senator Godswill Akpabio as an interested party to appeal the judgement of the court which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to delete his name as the duly elected candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District and replace him with DIG Udom Ekpoudom (retd.).
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, November 14, 2022, in the Appeal brought by Ekpoudom against the APC and INEC, had declared that Ekpoudom was the candidate of the APC for Akwa Ibom North-West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District in the 2023 elections.
Akpabio’s lawyers, Umeh Kalu SAN and Berth Igwilo, SAN, had applied for Leave for Akpabio to be joined in the Appeal because he was not a party in the proceedings, to enable him to approach the Supreme Court for reprieve.
Delivering judgement on the Motion for Leave after hearing Mr Umeh Kalu, SAN, Berth Igwilo, SAN, the three-man Panel of the Justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Hon. Justice U.A. Ogakwu, unanimously granted Akpabio’s prayers saying that it was satisfied that the applicant had deposed to cogent issues in his affidavit and further affidavits to warrant the grant of Leave to appeal the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
The court further held that since Senator Godswill Akpabio’s name had earlier been forwarded to INEC as the candidate of the APC, it was imperative to allow him appeal the judgement of the court delivered in his absence.
Commenting on the ruling, Umeh Kalu, SAN, commended the Justices for their sound reasoning in the judgment saying, “you cannot shave a persons head in his absence.”
By this ruling, Akpabio is expected to approach the Supreme Court before the end of the week.