The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed April 10 for ruling on the 2014 primary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District brought before it by Bassey Etim, a former member of House of Representatives against Senator Bassey Albert Akpan.
Before now, Etim had challenged the case to Federal High Court, Uyo that he bought PDP form while Akpan did not buy the form and as such he was the party’s duly nominated candidate and winner of the senatorial seat in the 2015 election, not Akpan as it turned to be.
The apex court had postponed the date for further hearing of arguments on the main appeal from October 29, 2017 to April 10, 2018 due to the intervention of Chief Kanu Agabi, counsel to Etim. The court struck out the case as the respondents were not in opposition.
The court had on February 20, 2018 struck out Etim’s motion for abridgment of time when Etim (appellant) represented the application through his counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
Counsels to both parties- Kanu Agabi, SAN counsel to Etim and Paul Usoro, SAN, counsel to Akpan- adopted their briefs of argument in Abuja.
The lingering legal tussle began in 2015 when Etim felt cheated that his party, PDP wrongly substituted his name as the winner of the primary in the senatorial district to that of Akpan, who until then was a governorship aspirant on the same platform.
The matter was taken to Federal High Court 2 in Uyo and was presided by Hon. Justice Fatun Riman.
The presiding judge ruled in February last year in favour of Etim as the elected Senator and ordered the leadership of National Assembly to immediately swear him in since he was the duly nominated candidate of the party.
Riman also ordered Senator Akpan to refund all the salaries and allowances he received illegally to the coffers of the National Assembly, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a fresh certificate of return to Etim.
Though INEC duly complied with the order, National Assembly did not obey the court’s ruling.
Upon this ruling, Akpan later appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court at the Appeal Court, Calabar and the matter was adjudicated in his favour.
Thereafter, Etim appealed against the judgment in the Supreme Court.