The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Cross River State on Tuesday affirmed the election of Governor Bassey Otu and his deputy, Mr Peter Odey in the March 18, 2023 election.
The three-man panel, therefore, dismissed the petitions of the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Sandy Onor, for lack of merit.
The court, in its judgement, struck out all three grounds of petition by the PDP governorship candidate saying the petition is incompetent, shambolic and a mere academic exercise.
All three judges, Justice Okenya Inneh, Chairman, Justice M Omar, member and Justice O Olatawusu took time to read their judgement in the four-hour-long ruling that took place at High Court 10, Moore Road on Calabar.
In their ruling on the petition that Otu and Odey were not qualified to contest the election because Odey who ran on the same ticket with Otu as the deputy was still a member of PDP when he was picked to run as deputy governor on the platform of APC, the judges held that selection of a candidate to contest an election is the domestic affairs of a party.
“The issue of qualification or sponsorship of a candidate is the domestic affairs of a party so no one can decide what the party should do when he is not a member of that party.”
On the grounds by PDP that Otu did not possess the prerequisite qualifications to contest the election, the Tribunal held that he submitted the Independent National Electoral Commission Form EC9 which indicated his academic qualifications and any interested party ought to have gone to a High Court within fourteen days to challenge such information.
“If there is misinformation, misconception, or falsification of information on Form EC9, an interested party ought to go to a High Court to institute a matter within fourteen days of the supply of information which was not done by the Petitioner, therefore this is struck out.”
The three-man panel also held that the issue of membership of PDP by the deputy and his alleged swearing allegiance to the United Kingdom have been subjects of litigations by the High Court and Appeal Court and dismissed and therefore a waste of the tribunal’s time.