A Federal High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja, Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to action on the issuance of certificate of return to any candidate in respect to Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial election held on February 23, pending the determination of suit before it.

Justice Valentine Ashi made the order in an application, with suit No. FCT/HC/M/2680/19, with Senator Godswill Akpabio as the applicant. The Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) is the respondent.

In an exparte motion dated February 28 with an affidavit deposed to by one Daniel Michael Idoko and filed on March 1, Senator Akpabio prayed the court for leave to apply for “judicial review for the issuance of writ of Mandamus, prohibition, injunction and other declaratory reliefs against INEC.

Akpabio also asked the court to direct the respondent to stay further action “particularly further action in respect of issuance of certificate of return to any candidate in respect of the seat of senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial district on the account of election held on the 23rd February, 2029.”

The court in granting the order, said there was “some merit especially in regards to the need to keep things in status quo”

Thus, the court ordered “Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to apply for judicial review for the issuance of a writ of Mandamus prohibition injunction and other declaratory reliefs against the respondent”

The court further order a stay of issuance of certificate of return to any candidate in respect of the seat as sought by the applicant. Justice Ashi also directed the parties to first address the court on jurisdiction on the next adjourned date, the court adjourned to March 8 for hearing of the case.

Meanwhile, according to results declared by INEC, Ekpeyong polled 118,215 votes ahead of Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who secured 83,158 votes in the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district election. But an incontrovertible result sheet from Akwa Ibom INEC office showed different figures that had Akpabio scoring 138,256 votes as against Ekpeyong’s 123,843.

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