Former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has finally withdrawn the case which he filed, challenging his defeat by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 23, National Assembly elections.
Akpabio’s Lawyer, Sunday Ameh, announced the withdrawal in court, in Abuja, on Friday. He did not however, give any reason for his decision.
Meanwhile, Akpabio filed the case despite Nigeria’s Legal provision, that Senatorial election disputes should be decided in the first instance by an Election Tribunal.
Lawyers had said that conventional courts lack jurisdiction to hear such cases.
Regardless, the Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, was accused of granting Akpabio’s request to restrain parties involved in the case.
On Friday, the Judge, Valentine Ashi, denied restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from issuing a Certificate of Return to the PDP Candidate, Chris Ekpenyong, in the February 23 elections.
Ashi said that the Media publications suggesting that he gave such an order, were “overstretching” the facts of the matter treated by his court.
According to Ashi, the nature of the application brought by Akpabio, should have been clarified by the Media or the Lawyers, who provided information to the Media.
The Judge explained that Akpabio’s application contained a request for an order of mandamus, restraining parties, and allowing Akpabio to judicially review the processes that resulted in the declaration of Ekpenyong as the winner of the Senatorial election.
The request for permission to review the process was granted by the court. It was that request that was later interpreted to mean that the court granted a restraining order.
Ashi said the facts of the matter were twisted.
Akpabio’s Lawyer informed the court on Friday, that his client has resolved to withdraw the application for judicial review.
The Lawyer representing the INEC, Tanimu Inuwa, told Journalists, that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the application, since it is an election matter.
“When a person requests for the enforcement of his right through an order of mandamus, what it means is that once that request is granted, parties are to stay proceedings, until that right has been enforced. That is what it means”, Inuwa explained. (PostNG)