Tribunal to deliver judgment on Cross River Gov. petition on Sept 26
Onor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) filed petition against the victory of Sen. Bassey Otu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Governorship election petition tribunal in Cross River will on Tuesday deliver judgment in the petition filed by Prof. Sandy Onor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the victory of Sen. Bassey Otu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is contained in a statement by the Secretary of the tribunal, Akawu Bambu in Calabar on Sunday. The suit Suit No. EPT/CR/GOV/02/2023 was jointly instituted by Onor and the PDP.
The Counsel to Onor and Otu, .J. Y. Musa, SAN and Prof. Mike Ozekhone, SAN, respectively presented their written addresses and were adopted by the three- man tribunal.
In the final written address, Musa, told the court that evidences extracted under cross-examination of the respondents goes to fortify the case of their petition and also also confirm the falsity of the evidence presented by the second and third respondents (Governor Otu and Peter Odey).
Onor closed his case after calling some witnesses while Otu called 10 witnesses. The tribunal led by Justice Oken Inneh had reserved judgment following the adoption of written addresses by both parties on Aug. 13.
Musa said the case of the petitioners is not allegations of forgery against any of the respondents (Otu and Odey) and so all the authorities they cited to the effect that they needed to call witnesses from institutions are non-sequitur, rather their case is that the second and third respondents lied on oath.
He insisted that the second and third respondents (Otu and Odey) brought documents to show that they forged documents. In the process of trying to say they did not lie on oath, they opened a Pandora box where we saw the discrepancies.
“I, therefore, urge the tribunal to declare the votes of the second and third respondents wasted because they were not qualified to stand for the election and declare the petitioners winner of the elections,” he stated.
On his part, lead counsel to the second and third respondents, Prof. Mike Ozekhone, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the petition “for being frivolous, unmeritorious, gold-digging, distracting and for constituting an abuse of the court process.”
He added that “withdrawal of grounds two and three by the petitioners sounded a death kernel to their own petition because it was an admission that the elections were validly held.”
On his part, counsel to the first respondents (INEC), K. O. Balogun, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition and also adopted Ozekhome’s submission in respect of the qualification of the second and third respondent.
Ozekhome had urged the court to dismiss the petition for being frivolous, unmeritorious, distracting and for constituting an abuse of the court process. He added that the withdrawal of grounds two and three by the petitioners sounded a death kernel to their own petition because it was an admission that the elections were validly held.
“From my own submission today, the truth is that, from the 10th of July 2023, when they withdrew grounds two and three of the petition, which talked about discrepancies, non-accreditation, non-e-transmission through BVAS, through iRev and all the other alleged malpractices.
“That time when they withdrew those allegations which were funny and untrue allegations, their petition collapsed like a pack of cards,” he added.
NAN reports that INEC declared Otu as winner of the election after polling 258,619 votes to defeat the PDP candidate who scored 179, 636 votes.
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