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C’River gov tribunal upholds Otu’s election victory

The Cross River Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the election victory of Governor Bassey Otu.


The three-man panel led by Justice Oken Inneh, in a unanimous decision on Tuesday, dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Sandy Onor, against Otu, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.


The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the PDP candidate, who was represented by Jonah Musa (SAN), had argued that Governor Otu did not have the necessary educational qualifications needed to contest the position.


However, counsel to Governor Otu and the APC, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), opposed the submission. He argued that the petition was completely baseless because the issues raised were long determined in five different cases involving the same parties in pre-election matters.


He further explained that the Tribunal frowned at the petitioner’s challenge against the school certificate of Governor Otu when the Supreme Court had defined the requirements to be those who can read and write and have attempted a school certificate or its equivalent.


According to him, Governor Otu has schooled up to university education and the petitioners did not bring any witness from the schools Governor Otu attended to disclaim the certificates tendered.


“The Tribunal dismissed those arguments citing our submissions and the submissions of other courts. The petitioners also wanted the nullification of the APC victory because they claimed that Peter Odey, the deputy governor of the State had dual citizenship and had sour allegiance to the United Kingdom. The Tribunal also dismissed that position as being a pre-election matter and therefore statute bar for the Tribunal,” Ozekhome noted.


After listening to all the parties, the panel judges decided the petition in favour of Otu for lack of merit. No cost was issued against the petitioner.


The lawyer for Onor and PDP told newsmen after the ruling that They accepted the judgment, even though it ruled against them. He, however, added that they would review the decision with their client before determining whether to file an appeal.

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