Plans by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State to install his successor in 2015 suffered a setback as a Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from zoning the governorship slot to the Eket Senatorial constituency. The court also stopped the party from using the results of the ward congresses of 1 November, in the state for the purpose of conducting primaries to select governorship candidates.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola made the orders after hearing an ex-parte application filed by Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of Umana Okon Umana, a former Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government and also a governorship aspirant in the state.
The PDP, its Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, are the defendants to the suit.
The judge also ordered INEC not to recognise the results of the ward congresses for any purpose because Umana and his supporters were prevented from participating in the said congresses following a statement made by the PDP excluding him from the exercise.
Furthermore, the court issued an interim injunction restraining PDP from excluding or in any way or manner preventing Umana from participating in the governorship primaries slated for 29 November, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by Umana and issued an order of interim injunction against the party from acting on a press statement issued by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh, on 29 October, to the effect that only governorship aspirants from Eket Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State were eligible to contest the party’s primaries.
Umana had applied to the court to challenge the decision of PDP to exclude him from the party’s primary for the next governorship elections in the state. In the suit he asked the court to determine whether the PDP could exclude him from participating in the party primaries for the selection of its candidate for the state governorship election in 2015 and sought for an order of injunction restraining the party from excluding him from participating in the primaries.
He urged the court to set aside the PDP congress in the state held on 1 November, because he was excluded from participating and to declare that he or any other aspirant to the office of the governor of Akwa Ibom State on the platform of the PDP could not be excluded from contesting the forthcoming primary elections of the party.