A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish Godswill Akpabio’s name as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Akwa Ibom North-west District for the 2023 elections.

Delivering Judgement, Justice Nwite held that INEC acted illegally for refusing to accept and publish Akpabio’s name even when it was sent to it by the APC as its candidate.

Justice Nwite added that Akpabio was validly nominated as the Akwa – Ibom Northwest Senatorial District candidate of the APC from the primary conducted by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) on June 9, 2022.

INEC had refused to recognise Mr Akpabio as a candidate because the commission did not monitor the APC primary which he claimed to have won.

Mr Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, contested the APC presidential primary in Abuja, but stepped down for the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, who emerged as the party presidential candidate.