Akpabio bypasses tribunal, gets court order against INEC, Ekpeyong

An Abuja High Court has ordered INEC to not issue a certificate of return to the PDP senatorial candidate Chros Ekpenyong declared winner of the Feb 23 election Akwa Ibom North West.

APC candidate Sen. Godswill Akpabio had petitioned the INEC with an allegation the state’s Resident Electoral Commission Mike Igini was considering reversing the result form Obo Akara—before the election result was announced.

Ekpeyong is from Obot Akara.

According to the result announced by the returning officer, Prof. Peter Oban, Akpabio scored 83,158 votes, while Mr Ekpenyong scored 118,215 votes.

“It is the law that a pronouncement on a result has been made, only a court of law can reverse such decision. An attempt to reverse same is total illegality,” Mr Akpabio said in the petition, dated February 23, and signed by his brother, Ibanga Akpabio, who was the APC senatorial agent in the election.

Wile the election tribunal the Sipreme Court inaugurated before the election is there, the Abuja court on Friday gave the ex parte order restraining INEC from issuing a certificate of return to Mr Ekpenyong, following an application brought before it by Mr Akpabio.

INEC is the respondent in the matter.

“Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to apply for judicial review of the issuance of a writ of mandamus, prohibition, injunction, and other declaratory reliefs against the respondent

“Leave so granted shall operate as stay of further action by the respondent and particularly further action in respect of issuance of certificate of return to any candidate in respect of the seat of the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District on the account of the election held on the 23 February, 2019,”  Justice Valentine Ashi ruled.

“Additionally, I direct that parties shall first address me on jurisdiction on the next adjourned date.”

Hearing of the substantive application comes up March 8.