The senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Eket Senatorial District (Akwa Ibom South) of Akwa Ibom State in the February 25 National Assembly polls, Hon. Martins Udoinyang, at the weekend, withdrew his petition filed against the election of Senator-elect Ekong Sampson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, the State capital, adjudcating on the outcome of the election, which was rejected by the APC, was jolted when the petitioner informed the Tribunal that he was no longer interested in pursuing the case beyond the preliminary stage.
Udoinyang made the disclosure when he was called by the Tribunal to adopt his statement on oath, and give evidence in support of his petition. His Counsel, Mfon Udeme Esq and supporters were taken aback by the APC candidate’s decision as they appeared not to have prior knowledge of the decision.
Udoinyang declared in the open Court that, “I have taken the final decision to discontinue the case.” He explained that, “my decision to withdraw the petition is based on the intervention of my leader, His Excellency, Senator Godswil Akpabio.”
He told the Tribunal that Senator Akpabio, who is the anointed candidate of the APC for the position of Senate President in the 10th National Assembly, “had pleaded with me to drop the petition against the election of Hon. Ekong Sampson, because the PDP Senator-elect is fully supporting the aspiration of Senator Akpabio to become the Senate President of Nigeria.”
Consequently, Counsels to all parties including Mfon Udeme, Esq, who represented the Petitioners; Uwemedimo Nwoko (SAN) for Hon. Ekong Sampson, and Prof. Smith (SAN) for the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Emmanuel Akpan Esq for the PDP, all chorused “as the Court pleases” as the panel dismissed the case based on mutual consent by the concerned parties in the matter.