The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday granted a Stay of Execution Order which reaffirmed Senator John Owan-Enoh, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and others published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State.
The panel of three Judges headed by Justice A. M Uwade frowned at INEC’s misinterpretation of her earlier order of February 20 which directed that parties in the matter maintain Status Quo Ante pending determination of the substantive case.
The three judges in the panel unanimously agreed that the Stay of Execution Order earlier granted subsist 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 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 by the late Sir Mathew Achigbe who is now being represented in acting capacity by Sir John Ochala, had declared that the Etim John faction be taken as the legitimate state executive council of the party.
The judge also went further to pronounce that 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 has been granted.
Responding to the Stay of Execution Order the Counsel to Etim John and others, Ayei Okpa 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 APC, Awa Kalu SAN said, “the import of the Stay of the Execution 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 to Monday 4thMarch, 2019 for hearing.