Akwa Ibom APC Guber ticket: Court hears Ita Enang’s motion for joinder, Oct. 24

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned till October 24 to hear the motion brought by Senator Ita Enang who is seeking to be joined in the suit filed in Abuja by another All Progressives Congress APC, chieftain Akanimo Udofia.

Udofia had filed the suit seeking to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to list the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Akanimo Udofia as a contestant in the 2023 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.

The adjournment was sequel to a request for time by Enang to respond to the objection to his joining in the suit filed by the APC and Udofia.

Recall that the court had slated October 6 for its judgment in the suit challenging INEC’s refusal to list the APC and Udofia in the Akwa Ibom State governorship poll.

But Enang had on the said date appeared in court and urged the court to halt its judgment in the interest of justice because he would be prejudiced if not heard by the court.

According to him, the process and outcome of the May 26 governorship primary of the APC in Akwa Ibom State is a thing of litigation before a Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

He pointed out that the parties in the Uyo court as well as the subject matter are the same as that before the Abuja court.

While disclosing that the Uyo Federal High Court, has reserved judgment in the said suit bordering on the APC governorship primary, Enang submitted that the plaintiffs ought not to have filed another suit over the same subject matter with the same parties.

Enang told the court that he made several efforts to see if there was duplicity of the case, including writing personally to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, but only got information on Wednesday’s evening that the court would deliver judgment in a similar matter on October 6 and had to rush to court to protect his interest.

He therefore prayed the court to allow him file his application for joinder to enable him defend his interest.

Responding, Mr Valentine Offia, plaintiff’s lawyer, informed Justice Nwite that the suit before the Uyo Federal High Court is challenging the validity of the APC primary while, the one before the court in Abuja is challenging the refusal of INEC to publish the list of the APC governorship candidate sent to it by the party.

Recall that after listening to the oral argument of Enang, the court held that he should be heard in the interest of justice.

Justice Nwite subsequently ordered him to file a formal application for joinder and served same on all parties in the suit and fixed October 17, for hearing.

When the matter came up on Monday, Enang informed the court that in line with the court’s directive he had filed his motion and served same on all parties in the suit last week Wednesday but only received the counter affidavit of the plaintifffs this morning in court and as such he would need time to respond.

Justice Nwite accordingly fixed Monday October 24 for hearing.

In the motion dated and filed October 12, applicant claimed to have contested in the APC Akwa Ibom State governorship election of May 26, alongside with the second plaintiff and others.

He argued that the intention of the plaintiffs is to obtained judgment behind the back of the party seeking to be joined having refused to serve the party seeking to be joined with the court processes knowing that he is a necessary party for the just determination of this suit.

Enang therefore urged the court to grant his application to enable him protect his interest as a candidate of the APC in the governorship

The APC and Udofia in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1290/2022, are claiming that INEC does not have the statutory powers to refuse to publish the name of its candidates in the governorship poll.

While APC is asking the court to publish the name of Udofia as sent to it as candidate of the party, Udofia on his part is asking the court to restrain INEC from publishing any other names except his as candidate of the APC in the Akwa Ibom governorship poll.