The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Akan Udofia, is to approach the Appeal court to challenge the Federal High Court judgement sitting in Uyo which nullified the primary that produced him as the candidate of the party.
Justice A.A. Okeke had on Monday nullified the Akwa Ibom APC primary and held that Udofia was not qualified to contest the primary of the party because he was not a member of the APC.
However, the Director General of Akan Udofia Campaign Council, Mr. Don Etim while addressing a press conference on Saturday in Abuja, described the judgement as a gross violation and infringement of the constitutional right to Freedom of Association afforded Udofia under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, by denying him the rights and privileges available to him as a member of APC.
He said there was a preponderance of evidence showing that Udofia duly resigned his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State.
Etim said Udofia’s resignation was formally conveyed to the PDP via a letter dated May 1, 2022, and addressed to the Ward Executive Chairman of Mbiaso Ward 1 Nsit Ibom and the Chairman of Akwa Ibom state chapter of PDP respectively.
According to him, “consequently, we unequivocally wish to state that Obong Akanimo Udofia did not take part, participate or, in any manner contest the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Primaries Election in Akwa Ibom State held on 25th May 2022.”
Etim stressed that on the 12th of May 2022, the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC granted Udofia’s application for a waiver to contest the APC governorship primary election in Akwa Ibom state in accordance with Article 31(3) (ii) of the APC Constitution as amended.
He said that it was, therefore, shocking for anyone to claim that he is not a member of APC.
Etim said, “This Judgement is a gross violation and infringement of the constitutional right to freedom of Association afforded Akan Udofia under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution by denying him the rights and privileges available to him as a member of a Political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We have great confidence in our judiciary and will take immediate steps to appeal this judgement and recover the mandate freely conferred on him by the members of our great party.”
He said to set the record straight, Udofia was a card-carrying member of APC and has his full name and particulars duly registered in his Ward.
Etim noted that Udofia remained undaunted and was optimistic that he would surely be on the ballot as the governorship candidate of the APC and win the 2023 election with the support of the people.
He said the clarification became imperative to disabuse the minds of the members of the public, especially the good people of Akwa Ibom State, who could be tempted to believe that Udofia was not qualified to contest the elections.