The secretary of the now-defunct Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress, Dr John Akpanudoedehe, has written to National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, to reverse plans to adhere to the appeal court order staying the swearing-in of a new party chairman for Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the APC.
Akpanudoedehe’s letter, dated April 14, 2022, called on the party leader’s attention to the National Legal Adviser of the party who is advising the legal team of the former secretary to withdraw from representing him in the appeal.
Earlier, Adamu had sworn in Stephen Ntukekpo as the state’s APC Chairman despite the Court of Appeal ruling staying execution of the decision of the lower court.
In a letter titled ‘RE: APPEAL NO: CA/ABJ/CV/353/2022 BETWEEN: SEN. JOHN JAMES AKPANUDOEDEHE V STEPHEN LEO NTUKEKPO & 5 OTHERS,’ the former secretary said, “I gather from my legal team as an Appellant in the aforestated appeal that the National Legal Adviser of the party is presently advising them to withdraw from representing me in the appeal.
“Ordinarily I would not have responded as I am doing now, since the reasons given to sustain your advice for their withdrawal are already sub-judice before the Court of Appeal.
“You may wish to refer to the processes filed by the 1st, 2nd as well as the 3rd Respondents in the appeal which I attach hereto for your ease of reference as annexures A1 and A2.”
He noted that the chairman remained the 4th Respondent in the appeal presupposing that “between both of us your reason for advising my lawyers to withdraw from further representation is sub-judice.
“I will therefore advise that you allow the court to decide whether I can competently maintain my appeal or not rather than usurp the functions of the court at this time.”
In a report dated April 9, 2022, The PUNCH revealed that Adamu had reversed some of the decisions taken by his predecessor Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State.
Before leaving office, Buni had given standing instructions to lawyers representing the APC to appeal court judgments challenging the conduct of congresses supervised by the caretaker committee.
One of the appealed judgments was that of the Federal High Court recognising the Akwa Ibom State faction of the APC led by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over that of the erstwhile Secretary, Akpanudoedehe.
However, in a letter signed by the Head, Legal Services of the APC, which was addressed to Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) & Company dated April 6, 2022, it was stated that the new chairman had directed that all cases appealed by Buni’s committee be immediately withdrawn from court.
The letter titled, ‘Notice of Withdrawal of Instruction’, relates to a case marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1635/2021 between Stephen Ntukekpo and three others vs. the APC and three others.
In his most recent letter, Akpanudoedehe maintained that “our administration delivered the National Convention of our great party while I was the Secretary of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee at which convention all the acts of our committee were adopted including the outcome of the State Congress in Akwa Ibom State.
“The winners in the Akwa Ibom State Congress were sworn in alongside the winners in the other 35 states of the federation on the same day at the same time. As a founding member of the party and the immediate past Secretary at the secretariat, I cannot remember when the party withdrew from any appeal in the manner done in the instant case.
“While I harbour no bitterness against that action, I expect you to respect my right of appeal as a party against whom a judgment was given, being one of the defendants at the lower court.
“Let me on a final note advise that you refrain from further calling on my legal team to withdraw their appearance for me as I find that completely unacceptable, particularly when my contract with them borders on a lawyer-client relationship. Please respect the boundaries.”