By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, on Wednesday, granted a formal “Stay of Execution Order” reaffirming as candidates of the All Progressives’ Congress in Cross River State, the names of Senator John Owan-Enoh, Senator Ndoma-Egba and others published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Panel of three Judges headed by Justice A. M. Uwade, frowned at the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) misinterpretation of her earlier order of February 20 which directed that parties in the matter should maintain “Status Quo Ante” pending the determination of the substantive case.
The judges in the panel unanimously agreed that the “Stay of Execution Order” earlier granted subsists in the interest of justice as evident in the affidavit and counter affidavit as contained in the subject matter of the appeal, suit No; CA/C/62/2019.A Federal High Court Judgement delivered by Hon Justice Simon A Amobeda, in Calabar on February 11 in the case filed by Etim John and two others challenging the legitimacy of the current State Executive Committee of the APC in Cross River State, led late Sir Mathew Achigbe, who is now being represented in that capacity by his deputy, Sir John Ochala, had declared that Etim John and other members of his factional executive committee of the APC in the state be taken as the legitimate state exco of the party.
The judge also went further to pronounce that other candidates from the list submitted by Etim John should be recognized by INEC. This Federal High Court Judgement prompted the appeal for which the “stay of execution Oder” has been granted.Responding to the “Stay of Execution Order” which was earlier granted and misinterpreted by INEC, the Counsel to the Respondents – Etim John and others, Ayei Okpa Esq said “I am satisfied with the order of court because it is in the interest of justice and all parties have agreed to expeditiously handle the matter and bring the substantive matter to an end”.
Also responding, Counsel to the All Progressives’ Congress APC and others, including Senator John Owan-Enoh, Awa Kalu (SAN) noted that “the import of the “Stay of the Execution Order” granted and reinforced simply reverses all that INEC may have done in error or compromise of any sort”.
According to him, “Senator Owan-Enoh, Senator Ndoma-Egba and other candidates of APC whose names were published by INEC as submitted to them by the National Working Committee of the APC, remains as the status quo and that the court has given the Respondents’ Counsel up to Friday March 1, 2019 to file their brief on the substantive case and the matter adjourned till Monday 4th March, 2019 for hearing.John Owan-Enoh is contesting the elections of March 9, 2019, as the governorship candidate of APC in the state while Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) contested the elections for the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State but the election was inconclusive.