Former member representing Essien Udim State Constituency at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Nse Ntuen, has withdrawn his suit at the Federal High Court compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to him as the winner of the May 9 elections.
It could be recalled that INEC had issued the certificate of return to 25 members-elect for the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly who all won the May 9 elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, leaving only the Essien Udim seat vacant till date.
This is as a result of the circumstances of the elections in Essien Udim which was characterised by violence and his (Nse Ntuen’s) subsequent announcement as winner of the elections which is reported to have been made under duress.
Consequent on the forgoing, the former member through his counsel, Patrick Umoh Esq, filed an action in court seeking an order compelling the INEC to issue the certificate of return to him.
On June 17, 2019, the counsel to INEC in the suit had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter the same being on an issue arising from the conduct of an election, hence a post-election matter which ought to be tried at the Election Petition Tribunal. The court thereupon adjourn to today, June 25, 2019 to enable Patrick Umoh, Esq to address him on the subject of jurisdiction as raised.
In an interesting twist of events, counsel came to court today and took a swift summersault, opting to withdraw the suit rather than address the court on whether it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
The court tersely obliged to the withdrawal stating that it was the only reasonable step to take considering the facts of the case. Counsel appreciated the court for his grace and apologized for the waste of the Court’s time.
The result of this therefore is that the Essien Udim seat at the House of Assembly remains vacant pending the determination of the petition between Esse Umoh and the former house member, Nse Ntuen.