By Etim Etim
The tussle for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship ticket in Akwa Ibom State has taken a dramatic turn as Senator Ita Enang this morning (March 10, 2023) wrote a letter to INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, advising him that APC in Akwa Ibom State has no candidate. Enang also notifies the INEC Chairman that one of the APC governorship aspirants, Akanimo Udofia, has been less than honest in the manner he’s been going about pursuing the party’s ticket. To illustrate his point, Enang stated that the Court Order which Udofia had obtained from the Federal High Court, Abuja, which purportedly ordered INEC to place his name as the candidate, was obtained during the pendency of the matter at the Supreme Court.
Enang’s letter reads: ‘’I write to inform you that the said judgement Order was obtained in suppression of correct facts while concealing the fact that an appeal was pending before the Supreme Court on the same subject matter and that the Court of Appeal in its judgement of 19th January 2023…did not make any positive or Consequential Order whatsoever directing INEC to enlist the name of Akanimo Udofia or Senator Ita Enang as the Akwa Ibom State Gubernatorial Candidate of APC for the 2023 election (copies of judgment attached)’’.
In law, it is deemed fraudulent for a party to obtain an Order or judgment from a Court while the same matter is a subject of litigation in another (a superior) Court.
Enang notes that Udofia’s tactics seems to be from the same playbook he had cunningly attempted to use last October. ‘’May it be stated that the Applicant (Akan Udofia) surreptitiously attempted to secure an Order similar to that obtained through the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1290/2022 before Hon. Justice Nwite, but his Lordship dismissed same on 26th January 2023 on the grounds that the Court of Appeal judgment has already decided the matter and parties are to be bound by the Court of Appeal judgment, which judgment is also the basis for this same suit’’.
Enang’s letter, lucid and logically presented, is accompanied with copies of relevant Court judgments and many other documents. It portrays Akan Udofia as a crafty and deceptive politician who is willing to achieve his goal by whatever dishonest means possible.
Enang also draws the Chairman’s attention to the INEC Report of 27th May 2022 which concluded that the APC did not hold any Gubernatorial Primary in Akwa Ibom State for the 2023 General Elections and it was as a result of this that INEC has not published the name of any Gubernatorial Candidate for Akwa Ibom State. The Copy of the said INEC Report is attached to the letter.
In conclusion, Enang writes: ‘’I submit that it is crystal clear that from all the available judgments attached, APC has no governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State. INEC as a responsible and law-abiding institution should be properly guided as there is no Consequential Order of either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court on this matter so far that will enable INEC to act by accepting and publishing the name of any person as a candidate’’.
From Enang’s letter and the various documents attached, I can safely conclude that Akan Udofia has come to the end of the road in his theatrical search for a ticket, right from his time in the PDP. My sense is that whosoever dragged Mr. Udofia into this adventure has done a huge harm to his reputation and family. Before politics, Akan was one of the most admired brands in the state. But now, he’s being presented in very uncomplimentary terms.
Akan Udofia has spent huge resources, time and energy. He has even complained to many in the Party that he had been deceived, duped and scammed. He has also grumbled to some people that I don’t like him. But I have nothing personal against him. I don’t know him from Adam. I have only seen him once; and that was at an event in Abuja, last year. We did not even talk to each other. My job is to report the truth and facts to the best of my ability.
This is a big lesson to other young politicians in Akwa Ibom.
Etim is a Journalist and Political Analyst, writes from Abuja