From Fred Itua, Abuja
Temporary reprieve came for Senator Bassey Akpan, when Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, yesterday, insisted Akpan was the party’s flag-bearer in the last election for Akwa-Ibom North East Senatorial District.
Akpabio, who made this known yesterday when he spoke with newsmen after plenary, expressed willingness to testify in court if the need arises.
The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, two months ago, nullified Akpan’s election, in a pre-election suit between Bassey Etim and the lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North East.
The court faulted the party’s primary election that produced Albert as flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequent election which produced him as senator.
Akpan, who filed a suit for the court for stay of execution of its February 27 judgment, which, however, went in Etim’s favour last week,.
The Federal High Court sitting in Uyo struck out Akpan’s application last Friday.
But, speaking in Akpan’s favour, Akpabio said: “I read on the pages of newspaper that one of my citizens went to court to say that he was the candidate and not Akpan, the man in the Senate presently.
“I don’t want to make any comment since the matter is in court, but, I know that I campaigned in the state with Akpan and he remains the authentic candidate of the party to my knowledge, before, during and after the election and he won massively and was voted for by the people of Uyo senatorial district.
“So, what is happening in court is baffling to me.
“The only thing that can move us forward politically, and ensure that we have a stable and developed democracy, is for us to do justice to one another.
“The senator was duly sworn in, so, what is happening is a tussle.
“As a matter of fact, it is a pre-election matter from what I heard. I cannot comment on it because the Supreme Court had, on various occasions ruled that whoever the party says is the candidate, is the candidate.
“I believe that in the end, justice will prevail. However, if the court calls me, and subpoenas me, for instance, to give evidence, then I will do so. Then, I was governor of the state, so, I am in a position to tell the truth. I was leader of the state and leader of the party at that time, so, if I speak, it is almost like speaking from the altar.”
Meanwhile, Etim, who is currently challenging the election of Akpan marched out of the National Assembly by the Sergeant-At-Arms.
He was specifically told to await judgment of the Supreme Court on the case pending between him and Akpan.
Etim, who stormed the National Assembly to be sworn in, was warned by the Senate leadership to stop incessant visits to the office of the Senate president.
Also, Akpabio told Etim to await the judgment of the Supreme Court on the pre-election case pending between him and Akpan.