- The Federal High Court in Abuja has declared that Senator Akpabio is free to join any party of his choice
- Justice Okon Abang ruled that the senator only joined the ruling party on August 3, 2018, due to his freedom of association as envisaged by the law
- The Legal Defence and Assistant Project earlier filed a suit before the court, challenging the defection of 53 lawmakers including Akpabio
The Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out the suit filed by the LEDAP, challenging the defection of the former Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress saying he was free to join any party of his choice.
Justice Okon Abang made this known on Friday, May 17, while ruling on a case seeking the removal of Senator Akpabio and 53 other members of the National Assembly who defected from one political party to another in 2018.
In his ruling, Justice Abang agreed with the lawmaker that he neither decamped nor defected to the APC with the facts placed before the court, Channels TV reports.
According to him, Senator Akpabio only moved or joined the ruling party on August 3, 2018, and this is based on his freedom of association as envisaged by the law.
The judge held that having been expelled by the PDP, the defendant has the constitutional right to join any political party of his choice.
He added that the fact that he was expelled from the opposition party showed there was no division in APC, stating that the plaintiff ought not to have joined him in the suit for his seat to be declared vacant.
Beyond this, Justice Abang said the matter was sub judice because there was a case concerning Senator Akpabio before a court.
He noted that joining him in the suit amounted to an abuse of court process and as such, the claim as affects him ought to be dismissed.
The judge said at the time the lawmaker joined APC, he was no longer a member of a political party having been expelled by the PDP and was entitled to joining any party without losing his seat.
Legit.ng previously reported that Akpabio told a Federal High Court that he joined the APC after he was suspended and expelled by the PDP.
Akpabio, a former minority leader of the Senate, reportedly explained this to the court on Tuesday, May 14, through his counsel, Sunday Ameh.
Ameh said this in reaction to a suit seeking his removal and that of 53 other members of the National Assembly.
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