By Godwin Amunde
Senator John Akpanudoedehe has warned the National Chairman of theruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Abdullahi Adamu against admitting a factional Chairman of the party in Akwa Ibom State, Stephen Ntukekpo into the National Executive Council (NEC) scheduled for Wednesday.
Akpanudoedehe, who was the secretary of the now-defunct Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC in a letter dated 19th April 2022 and signed by his lawyer, Tawo E. Tawo (SAN) reminded the party of the pending case against Ntukekpo at the Court of Appeal.
The letter addressed to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu followed the decision of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court which in mid-March ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Ntukekpo as the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the APC.
Consequently, the court sacked the Akpanudoedehe-backed Augustine Ekanem-led executives of the party and ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to them.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his judgment, held that the inauguration of the Ekanem-led state executives of the party was an act of illegality.
Akpanudoedehe, through his lawyer, AA Malik consequently approached the Appeal Court. While the case was on, Senator Adamu had days ago swore in Ntukekpo, an ally of Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, in disregard of an April 7 Court of Appeal ordered that the status quo be maintained in the Akwa Ibom State APC executive.
Akpanudoedehe argued that the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja made an order on the 7th of April, 2022 directing that the status quo be maintained with regards to the judgment of the trial court pending the determination of the extant motion for stay of execution as well as the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the appeal.
He words: “We gather from him that the said order was served on your Legal Department on the 11 of April 2022 besides the fact that you were represented by your counsel in court when the order was made as is apparent on the face of the Order.
“We further gather from him that despite the order, the 1st Respondent (Mr. Stephen Leo Ntukekpo) presented himself to the party to be sworn in as the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the party and was obliged by the party. This was done despite the fact that both Stephen Leo Ntukekpo and the party are parties in the Appeal and therefore bound by the order of the Honourable Court of Appeal as it were.”
The former secretary said thereafter, Ntukekpo proceeded to Akwa Ibom State to swear in some other people as members of his Executive Council both at the State and Local Government Levels, thereby further altering in a serial manner the status quo that was ordered to be maintained by the Court of Appeal.
Akpanudoedehe noted: “Our client further Informed us and we verily believe him that the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party has been scheduled to hold on the 20th April, 2022.
“Take notice therefore that the attendance of the meeting by the 1st Respondent (Mr. Stephen Leo Ntukekpo) parading himself as the Akwa Ibom State Executive Chairman of the party shall constitute a further serial breach and or noncompliance with the extant order of the Court of Appeal.
“We, therefore, advise against admitting him into the NEC meeting as doing otherwise would constitute a further non-compliance and total disregard to the extant orders of the Court of Appeal. Be warned”