Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom State

Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom State

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed an application by embattled former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Chief Godswill Akpabio seeking to stop the Akwa Ibom State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal from further hearing of the petition against his election by Chief Inibehe Okori of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Hon. Justice Goddy Anunihu led tribunal sitting at the Customary Court, Dutsen Alhaji, Abuja directed Akpabio back to the Election Petition Tribunal to defend himself.

The embattled Senate minority leader had hoped to get an interlocutory injunction to stop Okori’s suit at the tribunal.

Akpabio’s petition with appeal number 423 sought to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the petition also included an order requesting the relocation of the tribunal back to Uyo among others.

It was called for hearing and ruling was delivered last Thursday.

The Court of Appeal heard and ruled on the matter even when the Respondents were not served with the Notice of Appeal or present in court when the case was heard.

The court reminded Akpabio that the era of getting frivolous injunctions through the back door was over, assuring him however that the doors of the Appeal Court remained open to him after the tribunal has given judgement on the petition challenging his election as the validly elected Senator for Akwa Ibom North West seat.

The ex-governor is billed to commence his defence at the tribunal next week Tuesday with 1, 169 witnesses.

Majority of his witnesses are reported to have withdrawn from testifying, an indication that he (Akpabio) may not commence his defence next week Tuesday as earlier scheduled.