By Idongesit Inyang
The Cross River State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar has upheld the election of Prince Bassey Otu, the state governor for lack of merit
and at no cost.
The Tribunal headed by Justice Oken Inneh, said the petitioners failed to prove that the second and third respondents (Bassey Otu and Peter Odey) are not qualified to contest for the position of governor and deputy governor respectively.
The Tribunal had reserved judgment in a Suit No. EPT/CR/GOV/02/2023 seeking to oust the Governor after adoption of counsel’s written addresses on August 14, 2023.
Justice Inneh further held that the issue of qualification is pre-election matters and therefore status barred adding that the complaint ought to have been instituted at the Federal High Court within fourteen days as required by law.
On membership of the PDP by the third respondent, the 3 man panel held that the issue of nomination and membership of a party is a domestic affair of a party and is not justiceable.
Reacting to the judgement, counsel to the petitioner, Dr. Jonah Musa, SAN commended the tribunal for the industry put into the case irrespective of whether they won or lost.
He added that if he is dissatisfied with the judgment he knows where to go.
On his part, counsel to the second and third respondent Professor Mike Ozekhome, SAN, thanked the tribunal for the judgment.
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He said the case was as dead as dodo from the outset and that going further to appeal is like flogging a dead horse explaining that both the governor and his deputy were over qualified
Explaining further on the allegation of the Deputy Governor, Hon. Peter Odey (3rd respondent) swearing on an oath of allegiance being British citizen and therefore has dual citizenship, Ozekhome, said, the matter is statue barred and the petitioners did not exhibit any prove.