Tribunal Dismisses PDP’s Petition, Re-Affirms Bassey Otu As Cross River Governor
The Tribunal has dismissed PDP’s petition and re-affirm Bassey Otu as Cross River State Governor.
The Cross-River State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Moore Road-Calabar, has re-affirmed the duo of Governor Bassey Edet Otu and his Deputy, Peter Agbe Odey as duly elected in the 18th March Governorship poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 20, declared Otu of the APC as winner of the election after he secured 258,619 votes, to defeat his closest challenger, Professor Sandy Ojang Onor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 179, 636 votes.
Clearly not satisfied with the results, Onor & the PDP on April 4, submitted their petition (EPT/CR/GOV/02/2023), asking the Court to disqualify Otu and/or Odey and further declare him the winner. INEC, Otu, Odey and APC were listed as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents, respectively.
The Petitioners, amongst others contend:
That the 2nd Respondents was at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election as he purportedly forged his Certificate and not been educated to School Certificate level.
That the 3rd Respondent (Peter Odey) was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election as he was still a member of the 2nd Petitioner (PDP) having not properly resigned from his Ward.
That the 3rd Respondent been a dual citizen has voluntarily obtained the citizenship of the Great Britain, thereby swearing an oath of allegiance to another Country and not qualified to participate in the election.
That the 1st Respondent was not properly nominated by his Party after not been properly screened thereto. Having not been properly sponsored, his votes amount to been wasted.
In ruling on the Preliminary objections raised by the Respondents, the tribunal led by Justice Joy Oghogho Okeaya-Inneh, held that the issues of sponsorship, nomination are pre-election matters and the tribunal is divested from adjudicating thereof.
The learned Justice also held that issues surrounding Party membership are exclusive and domestic affairs of the Party. They fall into pre-election matters of which the petitioners have no locus, the tribunal therefore is robbed of jurisdiction.
The tribunal further dismissed the petition for lacking in merit and re-affirmed the 2nd & 3rd Respondents as duly elected.