A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Monday, sacked the All Progressive Congress factional governorship candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh and other candidates of the party currently recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court also sacked the factional leadership of the party led by Mr. John Ochalla, which is loyal to Owan-Enoh.
In a two-hour judgment delivered by Hon Justice Simon A Amobeda, the court ordered that “INEC should only receive and accept the names and candidates for the 2019 elections that emerged from the lawful executive led by Godwin Etim John.”
It also ordered that persons parading themselves as the executive members of the APC in Cross River State should forthwith, cease and that the lawful executive of APC in Cross River State remains that which is led by Godwin Etim John.
Speaking with newsmen on the judgement, counsel to the claimants, Ayei Okpa, explained that “the judgment clearly is in support of the rule of law as it also supports the yearning of the common man,” adding that, “once a judgment is delivered in a court of law, everyone affected by that judgment is supposed and ought to comply with the said judgment and that is what this court today, has confirmed.”
Making more clarifications on the said judgment, Okpa said: “INEC is to use and publish only the names that emerged from the lawful executive and not any other name that emerged from any other executive in Cross River State APC.”
He said he will ensure that the electoral body complies with the court judgement, adding,
“if INEC refuses, the judgment will be enforced against INEC to ensure compliance.”
According to the learned counsel, “the court has every power under its disciplinary jurisdiction to undo what has been done unlawfully and the electoral act commands INEC to obey section 155 of the electoral act to obey where the court gives an order,” pointing out that “INEC has every reason to comply with that order, what INEC did by publishing unlawful names is unlawful.”
Reacting to the judgement, Ntufam Godwin Etim John said: “I am very satisfied with the court ruling. I am not surprised with the judgment because there is no way from my layman’s understanding of law that you will disobey court injunction, ruling or judgement and expect you can go anywhere and get a contrary judgment.
“From day one I was victorious in my congresses and God is proving it day by day and court to court, that whatever was done was right, people are just trying to cheat us but God and the law of the land is on our side.”