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Editorial South-South

Court Sacks Akwa Ibom Senator, Bassey Akpan, Orders Refund Of Emoluments

A Federal High in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has nullified the election of Senator Bassey Albert Akpan.

Mr. Akpan was until the judgment, the senator representing Akwa Ibom North -East Senatorial District at the National Assembly.

But in a pre-election case filed before it, Justice Ritman Fatun, ruled that Mr. Akpan was not duly elected during the senatorial primary conducted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on December 7, 2016.

A former House of Representatives member for Uyo Federal Constituency, Bassey Etim, had approached the court, challenging the wrongful substitution of Mr. Akpan’s name as the winner of the primary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In his ruling, Justice Fatun held that ‘’Bassey Albert was a candidate for the governorship election but was only smuggled into the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District at the last minute’’

He, therefore, ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to Mr. Etim as the duly elected candidate for Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District.

The court also awarded N200.000 fine against the 1st and 3rd respondents and ordered a refund of all monies illegally accrued to Mr. Akpan to the federal government.

Speaking shortly after the court session, lead counsel to the petitioner, Taiwo Abe, described the judgment as “lucid and educative.”

“That will go a long way to enrich the jurisprudence of the country,” he said.

He expressed appreciation to the court for its exceptional courage and sincerity in the handling of the case, saying it is a victory for democracy.

“I am happy for this victory. It a victory for democracy and I assure you that no court of law will fault this judgment,” Abe continued.

However, counsel to defendant, Offiong Offiong, said he would brief his client before taking the next line of action.

“I cannot advise my client through the media. I will advise him professionally on the matter when I meet him,’’ he said.

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