Akwa Ibom state All Progressives Congress APC, Gubernatorial candidate for the now rescheduled to March 18, 2023 Governorship and State Assembly Elections, has declared that the Tuesday, March 7th Supreme Court Judgment, which affirmed him as the authentic APC Akwa Ibom guber Candidate, is a clear reflection of the will of Akwa Ibom people for him as their preferred choice, to become the next Governor of the State.
It would be recalled that in the unanimous judgement in the suit marked SC/CV/158/2023, which was delivered on Tuesday, March 7, by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the Apex court struck out Senator Ita Enang’s appeal and upheld the January 19th judgement of the Court of Appeal which confirmed the nomination of Udofia.
It held that Udofia is a member of the APC having duly secured the waiver of the party to contest the May 26th governorship primaries and further ruled that political parties have a right to grant waivers to members, saying the lower court erred in ruling otherwise.
Consequently, Enang’s appeal, which was described as a mere academic exercise, was dismissed for lack of merit and the judgement now lays to rest, the controversies surrounding the nomination of Obong Akan Udofia, as APC substantive gubernatorial candidate for the now re-scheduled Saturday, March 18, Governorship election.
The declaration by Obong Akan Udofia, was contained in a statement he personally signed and reads thus:
MY SUPREME COURT VICTORY: AN AFFIRMATION OF THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
“It is with a deep sense of humility and responsibility that I welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court affirming me as the authentic Candidate of our great Party, the All Progressives Congress for the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election.
“It has been a long and tortuous journey, but just as gold is purified and refined by fire, so have the experiences of the last ten months since our primaries in May last year strengthened my resolve and determination to serve in order to bring shared prosperity and progress to the good people of Akwa Ibom State.
“Today’s verdict is an affirmation of my longstanding belief and confidence in the Judiciary and the rule of law.
“It is also a validation of my firm conviction that the Party is supreme in all matters relating to candidacy for elections.
“I am grateful to the Almighty God for His grace, guidance strength and wisdom without which we will never have come this far.
“I also want to extend my appreciation to my family who have stuck with me through thick and thin. Your love and prayers have been a source of great support and inspiration to me.
“To my teeming supporters, Party members and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, your perseverance and commitment to the realization of our collective aspiration even amidst trials and tribulations have been highly remarkable and commendable.
“I want to again reassure you that I will never let you down.I will do everything in my power to uphold the mandate you have conferred on me.
“I want to thank our leader and President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his encouragement throughout this trying period. I also want to express my appreciation to our uncommon Leader and Senator-Elect, Obong Godswill Akpabio who has been an immense pillar of support and encouragement to me.
“Together we are now set to win the forthcoming Governorship Elections in Akwa Ibom State.
“I appeal to all people who believe in the peace, prosperity and progress of Akwa Ibom State to join hands with me so we can work together to enthrone shared prosperity for the good people of Akwa Ibom State.”
Obong Akan Udofia,
APC Governorship Candidate,
Akwa Ibom State.
March 7, 2023
Obong Akan Udofia who also spoke with Seun Okinbaloye on the popular Channels TV programme Politics today, immediately after the Supreme Court affirmed him as the authentic Akwa Ibom APC Governorship candidate for the now March 18, Election, highlighted the reasons why he’s best suited to take over the mantle of leadership in Akwa Ibom State.
WHY I AM THE BEST FOR THE JOB
- A major need of Akwa Ibom indigenes currently is Employment, and as an active player in the private sector I have created and also managed businessed with over 40,000 employees. I have a track record of a successful business culture.
- “We will pay serious attention to Human Capital Development, our people need to be equipped for the opportunities coming.
We will give priority to the Sustainable Development Goals like Clean Water, Access to Education and Health facilities.
- We will ensure Ibaka Deep Seaport becomes a reality. In addition, we will invest in Fishing Trawlers for Oro and also urbanize the region.
- “I give my word on LG Autonomy, we will allow the local government areas to control their resources so the people can have good governance at the grassroots.
Regarding the coming elections…
“They (PDP) saw what happened last weekend, We will teach them a lesson this coming weekend”
Shedding more light on the Supreme Court Judgment a distinguished legal luminary, Dr. Patrick Umoh (Esq.) wrote:
“I have been inundated with calls from many people on the implication of the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Sen. Ita Solomon Enang v. Akanimo Asuquo Udofia & Ors.
- The Decision of the Supreme Court is clear. It is to the effect that Akanimo Asuquo Udofia is the gubernatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
- Obong Akanimo Udofia was nominated as the APC gubernatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom State on the 26/5/22. Dissatisfied, Sen. Ita Enang approached the Federal High Court to challenge the nomination on grounds that Obong Akanimo Udofia was not a member of the APC; oblivious of the fact that Obong Akanimo Udofia was granted a waiver by the National Working Committee of the APC. Pleadings were filed and exchanged by the respective counsel. However the Federal High Court gave judgment in Favour of Sen. Ita Enang.
- Peeved by that decision, Obong Akanimo Udofia approached the Court of Appeal wherein the decision was set aside in Favour of Obong Akanimo Udofia.
- Sen. Ita Enang approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal decision and lost again to Obong Akanimo Udofia. The Supreme Court gave an unanimous decision; holding that Sen. Ita Enang’s appeal be dismissed for lacking in merit; that the issue of membership of a political party is an internal affair of the party.
- The Supreme Court decision brings to an end all contentions as Akanimo Udofia’s nomination remains unchallenged in the eyes of the law.
- Sequel to the Supreme Court decision, I have watched Sen. Enang dissipating his energy on the issue of INEC not publishing the name of Akanimo Udofia as the governorship candidate of the APC.
It is surprising and disappointing to note that this is coming from a senior lawyer and in fact a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- May I refer the Distinguished Sen Ita Enang to the case of Kubor v Dickson (2013) 4 NWLR pt 1345 p. 534. The decision is to the effect that the non publication of a candidate’s name in the list of candidates for an election properly sponsored by a political party does not ipso facto defeat the candidature of the candidate. According to the Supreme Court “ the reasoning follows naturally as INEC has no power to suo motu reject or disqualify any sponsored candidate whose name has been submitted to it accordingly”.
- The implication is that Obong Akanimo Udofia having been validly nominated; the appeal against his nomination having been dismissed by the Supreme Court implies that Obong Akanimo Asuquo Udofia is the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives
- There is No further appeal beyond the Supreme Court. The media appeal and sensation by the Distinguished Senator is mischievous, contemptuous, unacceptable and of course condemnable.”