The Federal High Court, Uyo, has rejected the application for stay of execution filed by Akwa Ibom State lawmaker, Bassey Akpan, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose election in the Senate was nullified by the court in February.
Justice Fatun Riman had ruled that another candidate, Bassey Etim, was the authentic candidate of the PDP for the election and not Akpan, a decision the latter had challenged in the Court of Appeal.
Akpan also filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgement pending the determination of the appeal.
However, Justice Riman in his ruling on Friday said that since there was an appeal on his initial judgment of February 27, his court has no jurisdiction to entertain the same matter.
He subsequently struck out the case and awarded N50,000 cost in favour of Etim, the defendant.
Recall that the Uyo Federal High Court, on the February 27, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue certificate of return to Etim as the authentic legislator representing Akwa Ibom North senatorial district in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
The court faulted the primary election that produced Akpan as the flagbearer of the PDP, holding that evidence proved that he had originally contested for the governorship position of the state.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, counsel to the defendant, Taiwo Abe, described the judgment as excellent.
“The record shows that the appellant had already filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Calabar, Abe said.
“His Lordship said that only the Court of Appeal can entertain stay of execution, since the case had been transmitted from the Federal High Court, Uyo, to Court of Appeal, Calabar, since March 10, 2017.
“I made the application that the court should strike out the case and award me a cost, the judge today has agreed with me and even granted cost of N50,000.”
Also, counsel to Akpan, Godswill Umoh, said he was satisfied with the judgment.
“Actually, that is the rule of practice, since we have filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal; the lower court cannot adjudicate on the same matter,” he admitted.
“The rule of practice is we withdraw the case, which I did.”
Despite the court ruling, Akpan remains a senator pending the determination of the case by the Court of Appeal.