Ita Enang’s appearance in court stops judgment in Akwa Ibom APC governorship crisis

The plaintiffs, APC and Udofia, had in the suit argued that INEC cannot refuse to publish the name of a person sent to it as the candidate of a political party.

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The appearance of Sen. Ita Enang, on Thursday, restrained a Federal High Court, Abuja from delivering a judgment in a suit seeking an order compelling the INEC from accepting Akanimo Udofia’s name as APC governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom 2023 poll.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Emeka Nwite had scheduled to deliver judgment today in the suit brought by a factional governorship candidate of the APC asking for an order directing the commission to publish his name as forwarded by the party to it.
The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1290/2022 which was filed by the APC and Akanimo Udofia, listed INEC as the sole defendant.
The plaintiffs, APC and Udofia, had in the suit argued that INEC cannot refuse to publish the name of a person sent to it as the candidate of a political party.
Amongst the reliefs sought in the suit include an order compelling INEC to publish the name of the candidate sent to it as the candidate of the APC in the Akwa Ibom governorship poll.
The court after listening to parties in the suit had fixed today (Thursday) for judgment.
However, when the matter was called for judgment, Enang drew the attention of the court to his presence as a party seeking to be joined in the matter.
He claimed he would be prejudiced if the court delivered its judgment without hearing him out.
According to him, the process and outcome of the May 26 governorship primary of the APC in Akwa Ibom is a thing of litigation before a Federal High Court (FHC) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.
He pointed out that the parties in the Uyo court, as well as the subject matter, were the same as that before the Abuja court.
While disclosing that the Uyo FHC, had reserved judgment in the said suit bordering on the APC governorship primary, Enang submitted that the plaintiffs ought not to have filed another suit over the same subject matter with the same parties.
Enang told the court that he made several efforts to see if there was duplicity of the case, including writing personally to the Chief Judge of the FHC, Justice John Tsoho, but only got information on Wednesday evening that the court would deliver judgment in a similar matter on Oct. 6 and had to rush to court to protect his interest.
He therefore prayed the court to allow him file his application for joinder to enable him defend his interest.
Responding, Mr Valentine Offia, plaintiffs’ lawyer, informed Nwite that the suit before the Uyo court was challenging the validity of the APC primary while, the one before the court in Abuja challenged the refusal of INEC to publish the list of the APC governorship candidate sent to it by the party.
After listening to the oral argument of Enang, the court held that he should be heard in the interest of justice.
Justice Nwite subsequently ordered him to file a formal application for joinder and served same on all parties in the suit and fixed Oct. 17 for hearing.
NAN reports that Enang had sought nullification of the APC’s primary as well as the nullification of the candidacy of Udofia on the grounds that the May 26 did not comply with the provisions of the law and guidelines of the APC.
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