The Federal High Court in Abuja has sacked the senator representing Akwa Ibom North East district, Albert Akpan, over his defection, last year, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The court declared his seat vacant and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a bye-election to fill it within 14 days, counting from 20 January when the judgement was delivered.

Although Mr Akpan was recently convicted and jailed for corruption, his sacking by the court has nothing to do with that.

His sacking by the court is based on his defection from the PDP to the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

The senator, who is on post-conviction bail, is the Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of his new party, the YPP, in the forthcoming March 2023 governorship election.

Delivering judgement in the political suit filed against him by the PDP, the judge, Fadima Aminu, ruled that he was not qualified to retain the seat after resigning from the party which sponsored his election to the Senate for a four-year tenure in 2019.

The judge ordered Mr Akpan to stop parading himself as a senator and ordered him to pay N5 million in costs to PDP which sued him over his defection to the YPP.

Ms Aminu said Mr Akpan, a two-term senator, failed in his obligation to prove that his defection from PDP was necessitated by serious rancour and steep differences in the ranks of the party.

Without a justifiable reason, the judge said, the defection violated section 68(1)(g) of the Nigerian constitution and implied that he must vacate his seat.

“Therefore, this honourable court holds that the 1st defendant (Mr Akpan) who resigned from the plaintiff (PDP) but failed in his duty before this honourable court to prove the alleged serious rancour and steep differences in the ranks of the plaintiff (PDP) which made him to resign or defect to Young Progressives Party (YPP), the 1st defendant is in violation of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution by refusing to vacate his seat as a senator in the senate won under the sponsorship of the plaintiff,” the judge said.

Mr Akpan defected from the PDP in July 2022 citing unresolved grievances from the party’s governorship primary election in Akwa Ibom State.

He announced the YPP as his new party in his letter notifying the Senate President of his defection from the PDP.

He was among federal lawmakers who switched parties in the aftermath of last year’s primary elections across parties.

Following the development, the PDP sued Mr Akpan on 28 July 2022, urging the court to declare his seat vacant by virtue of the provisions of sections 68(1), and 62(b) of the Nigerian constitution affirmed by a plethora of Supreme Court decisions.

The party joined the Senate President and INEC as defendants.






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