A governorship Aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Bassey Akpan has declared his intention not to participate in the governorship primaries of the party that would be held on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
He cited the subsisting order by the Federal High Court to maintain the “status quo antebellum” until the case is heard at the appellate court as his reason.
In a letter addressed to the State chairman of the party, Aniekan Akpan and copied to the National chairman, the INEC Chairman and the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), on Tuesday, Akpan stressed that his decision to boycott the elections did not mean withdrawal from the race, adding that he was ready for the contest anytime the right thing was done.
According to the letter tagged, “Adherence to the court order in suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/606/22 between Rt.Hon Friday Iwok & others and Independent National Electoral Commission and PDP- Inability to participate in the governorship primaries of May 25th, 2022 in Akwa Ibom State,” Senator Akpan noted that though he has been screened and cleared, he will not participate in today’s election to avoid contempt of court.
The letter in parts, “My attention has been drawn to widely publicised notices dated and signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon. Umar M. Bature, wherein, it was stated that by virtue of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022, delegates to vote in the above mentioned primaries are the three (3) AD-HOC Delegates per ward, elected at the Ward Congresses and One (1) National Delegate per Local Government, elected at the Local Government Area Congresses.
“I am in possession of a subsisting court enrolled order in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/606/22 at the Federal High Court Abuja where the Honourable Court ordered amongst others that it will be in the interest of justice for the parties to maintain status quo antebellum pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
“I am also aware that the Party was duly served with this Order on May 18th, 2022.
“That the Party has filed an Appeal with the Court of Appeal, Abuja, on May 19th, 2022 which has not been heard as at date, and also filed an application for stay of order at the same Federal High Court, Abuja.
“I have been advised by my solicitors that a mere filing and or notice of an appeal at an upper court, and an application for the stay of order at the Federal High Court does not vacate or serve as a stay of the subsisting order of the lower court.
“I have also been advised by my solicitors that the conduct of the primaries with ad-hoc delegates as proposed by the Party shall be in breach of the subsisting order and also a contempt of court with the consequences of nullifying the outcome of the primaries and therefore jeopardising the chances of our great Party fielding candidates during the forthcoming election
“I have also been advised that the Local Government Area Congresses that elected the One (1) National Delegate per Local Government, was largely made up of statutory delegates as voters as against the Electoral Act, which does not recognise statutory delegates as voters in such elections.
“I am aware that the Party has resorted to this illegality due to the fact that the amended Electoral Act 2022 has not yet been signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He appealed to the party to obey and comply with the order in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/606/22 and to suspend the conduct of the forthcoming primaries in Akwa Ibom pending when the amended Electoral Act is signed into law by Mr President or until such a time the court would have heard and determined the above suit.
He added that in the alternative, the party can explore other options as listed in the Electoral Act to conduct the Governorship Primary in Akwa Ibom State.