The National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has requested the constitution of a special panel to hear the appeal regarding the House of Representatives seat for Oron federal constituency in Akwa Ibom State.
This was contained in a petition by the National Vice Chairman South South APC Mr. Ntufam Hilliard Eta.
The party is seeking the panel to determine the actual winner of the House of Representatives seat for the constituency in the 2015 general election following the arraignment of the current representative, Mr. Nse Bassey Ekpenyong before the Federal High Court in Uyo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged certificate forgery and falsification of other documents.
The Letter titled ”Urgent Need To Constitute A Special Panel To Hear CA/A/86/2017”, dated July 10, 2017 and addressed to the President, Court of Appeal, said ”My Lord, following a resolution of our great party, APC, I write to kindly request that you consider and constitute a special panel to hear suit CA/A/86/2017”.
Signed by Eta, the letter said “the case has become of immense interest to both the party and indeed the general public following the arraignment of the Appellant in the suit, Hon. Nse Bassey Ekpenyong before the Federal High Court in Uyo by the EFCC for forgery”.
According to the him, “Hon. Nse Bassey Ekpenyong is currently facing a 16 count charge bothering mainly on forgery and alteration of documents which he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for the elections”.
The APC clearly stated that Hon. Ekpenyong was not qualified to continue in office since the Judiciary through a recent Supreme Court judgement clearly frowns at certificate forgery.
The party maintained that it was relying on the apex court verdict in the case of Hassan Salah vs Chris Adabah Abah which dwelled extensively on sections 66(1) and 68(1) regarding disqualification of such persons from office and the need for them to vacate the office occupied.
It, therefore, urged the President, Court of Appeal “to set up the special panel to hear the suit so that the crime be stamped out from the politics of our nation adding that further delay in hearing the suit amounts to condoning certificate forgery and an attempt to contradict the position of the Judiciary.”
It would be recalled that Hon. Nse Ekpenyong of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was declared the winner of the House of Representatives seat for Oron federal constituency in the 2015 general elections by INEC against his rival, Hon. Robinson Uwak of the APC.
He was arraigned before an Uyo High Court in March this year for alleged forgery alongside an accomplice, Okon Edet Bassey who was alleged to have written the November/December 1999 West African Examination Council, WAEC senior secondary certificate examination for him.
Hon. Ekpenyong, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges of forgery of a National Diploma in Business Administration of the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba with No. 001181 dated November 22, 2012.
They were, however, later granted bail in the sum of N10 million each.