By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been advised against allowing self to be used by some individuals to prevent the course of justice on the matter of the party structure in Akwa Ibom State.
This advice was contained in a statement issued on Friday by Solomon Johnny, Publicity Secretary of APC in the state and made available to New Nigerian Newspapers in Uyo.
Johnny in the statement also reminded the national secretariat of the impending court contempt and its consequences following any action it would take against the forgoing court order including any attempt to compel Senator John Udoedehe to withdraw his appeal.
“Our attention has been drawn to a letter written by National Legal Adviser of our great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC dated 6th April 2022 requesting Solomon Umoh, SAN, counsel to Senator John Udoedehe in Appeal number CA/ABJ/CV/353/2022 filed by Senator John Udoedehe challenging the decision of the Federal High Court in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1636/2021 which declared Mr Stephen Ntokekpo as Chairman of the party in Akwa Ibom State to withdraw the appeal.
“Without holding brief for Senator John Udoedehe, immediate past National Secretary of APC, we state that the suit in question was filed and maintained by Senator John Udoedehe as a private individual who was a party to the matter file at Federal High Court, Abuja by Stephen Ntokekpo. The party in the circumstance, cannot seek to stampede Senator John Udoedehe from exercising his right of appeal especially as the Plaintiff at the lower court never sued the office of the National Secretary, but Senator John Udoedehe as an individual.
“We will like to draw the attention of the National Legal Adviser and National Chairman of APC to the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Abuja on Thursday, 6th April 2022 to the effect that Senator John Udoedehe who was a party to the suit at the Federal High Court, has the right to institute and maintain an appeal against the judgement which declared Stephen Ntokekpo as Chairman of APC Akwa Ibom.
“We also wish to draw their attention to the ruling of same Court ordering that Status quo as at the day of the judgement of the lower court be maintained on the structure of the party in Akwa Ibom State pending the determination of the substantive matters before the court.
“We wish to remind the National secretariat of APC that any action taken against the forgoing court order including any attempt to compel Senator John Udoedehe to withdraw his appeal will amount to contempt of court with dire consequences. We urge the party to resist the lure of acting and been seen to be acting to frustrate the course of justice on the matter of the party structure in Akwa Ibom State”, the release stated.
The APC Publicity Secretary said, Stephen Ntokekpo, who was sacked as State Youth Leader over series of anti party affairs, was not screened nor participated in the state Congress held on 16th October 2021 at Sheer Grace Arena, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and conducted by Alhaji Banki Sheriff and his seven man team.
According to Johnny, Ntokekpo has questions to answer regarding how he can become State Chairman of APC in the State, adding that the withdrawal by APC of appeal CA/ABJ/CV/354/2022 against Ntokekpo on Thursday was of no effect and cannot stop him from offering explanation.
Accordingly, Johnny said, the party should respect the existing Court of Appeal order and exercise patience for Stephen Ntokekpo to defend his criminal claim to APC chairmanship seat in Akwa Ibom State as APC cannot become a banana republic at the sight of rascal counters. The rule of law must prevail on this matter.
He posited that Senator John Udoedehe never argued against the right of the party to withdraw her appeal, therefore APC to respect Sen Udoedehe’s right to proceed on his appeal against a matter he was sued in his private capacity and not the office of National Secretary which he vacated penultimate week with honour.