A Federal high court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, has ordered the removal of Bassey Akpan, a PDP Senator representing Akwa Ibom north-east senatorial district. The court also ordered Akpan to refund all salaries and allowances earned during his stay in the senate.
The court in a judgment delivered on Monday ruled that Bassey Etim a former member of the House of Representatives, was the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 2015 senatorial election in the state and should replace Bassey Akpan.
Bassey Etim, who lost the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket to Akpan had filed a legal action against the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He asked the court to declare him as the authentic candidate of the party in the 2015 election, arguing that he was wrongly substituted in the December 7, 2014, primary election.
Thus, in his ruling, Justice Fatun Riman, ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Akpan and awarded N200,000 costs in favour of Etim. Justice Riman also directed INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to Etim.
The lawyer of the PDP senator, Offiong Offiong, told reporters after the judgment that he would brief his client before knowing the next action to take on the matter.
“I cannot advise my client (Bassey Akpan) through the media, I will advise him as a professional certainly on the matter when I meet him,” he said.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Taiwo Abe, described the judgment as a “victory for democracy”.
“I am happy with the judgment, it is a victory for democracy, and I can assure you no court of law will fault this judgment. My client has proved his case and I have no doubt even if they appeal to the supreme court my client will still win.”
Meanwhile, the PDP in Rivers State has won both the seat of the House of Representatives and that of the state House of Assembly held on Saturday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday declared Jerome Eke of the PDP as the winner of the concluding election into Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency of the state.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Jeremiah Sola-Omotola who made the declaration at INEC office in Port Harcourt, said Eke scored 15,221 votes to defeat Ogbonna Nwuke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who got 6,220 votes.
The APC in Rivers had, however, called on INEC not to contradict itself in announcing the results of Etche/Omuma elections.
Chris Finebone, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, who made the call in a statement made available to newsmen said that the elections for Etche State Constituency and Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency were formally declared inconclusive by the returning officers.
Finebone said the party said was taken aback by signals indicating that Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, the National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Rivers, ordered that the results of the inconclusive elections should be announced.
INEC had, on December 10, conducted rerun polls in three senatorial districts, eight federal constituencies and 10 state constituencies in Rivers State, after the court annulled the March 2015 legislative elections in the volatile oil-rich state.
Despite the deployment of more than 28,000 security operatives for the December 10 rerun, it was attended by widespread irregularities and violence that claimed lives.
Apart from Etche where INEC just concluded election on Saturday, it took the commission more than five days to announce results in some of the other 20 constituencies.