A federal high court in Uyo on Wednesday declared vacant the seat of a lawmaker in Akwa Ibom State who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The affected lawmaker, Idongesit Ituen, represented Itu State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The suit was filed by Mr Ituen in September this year to pre-empt the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, from declaring his seat vacant.
Apart from the speaker, other defendants in the suit were the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the commissioner of police, Akwa Ibom state.
Mr Luke had filed a counterclaim, seeking for “a declaration that having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress before the expiration of the tenure of four years for which he was elected to serve, Hon. Idongesit Ntuen has lost his seat in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
“An order of court directing Hon Idongesit Ituen to vacate the Itu State Constituency seat in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly with immediate effect.
“An order of court restraining the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly or any other person acting on his behalf (including the staff of the House of Assembly) from further recognising Hon. Idongesit Ituen as a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
“An order of court directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately conduct a bye-election to fill the vacant seat of Itu State Constituency at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.”
The court presided over by F. O. Riman, dismissed the main suit and granted all the reliefs in the counterclaim.
Mr Ituen’s lawyer, Uyo-Obong Jumbo of Juris Advocates, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday afternoon, they were filing an appeal including for a stay of execution of the judgment.
The speaker was represented by Ekemini Udim of Justice Chambers, alongside Beulah Udechuwkwu.