Cross River: Elections Petition Tribunal reserves judgment in PDP’s suit seeking to remove Otu

153

The Cross River State Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal has delayed its decision in the People Democratic Party (PDP) petition seeking to remove Cross River State Governor Bassey Otu from office.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial standard bearer, Prof. Sandy Onor, and his party filed Suit No. EPT/CR/GOV/02/2023 against the election of Senator Bassey Otu and the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon. Peter Odey.

The Counsels to Prof. Sandy Onor and Governor Bassey 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 before the Court on Monday, counsel to the petitioners, Dr. J. Y. Musa, SAN, 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).

Misa 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-sequitor, 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 Professor Ozekhome’s submission in respect of the qualification of the second and third respondent.

After listening to the final arguments of the parties, Justice Okenn Ineh thanked the litigants for the efforts they put in the case.

She said the date of judgment will be communicated to all the parties subsequently.