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Court rulings trigger applications, amendments at C’River election tribunal

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Nigeria justice

Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judgments in the Cross River North Senatorial by-election have triggered applications and amendments at the National and State Assembly Election Petition tribunal that resumed sitting yesterday in Calabar.

The petitioner, Joe Agi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) through his counsel, Emmanuel Sani, is seeking amendments in his earlier application considering fresh facts from the verdicts, but counsel to Steven Odey the first respondent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Monjok Agom tried to oppose it.

The tribunal, however, refused his opposition, as he failed to file a formal reply earlier to that effect as allowed by law.

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Counsel to Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe of the PDP and second respondent, Mba Ukweni (SAN), that of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and fourth respondent, M. K. Abdullahi as well as that of the PDP and third respondent, Adedamola Fanokun, did not oppose Agi’s application and amendments, as they did not file any objection.

Sani had argued that in the cause of his reply to Odey’s earlier request for the tribunal to strike out his case, his typist made an error by omitting a particular paragraph and pleaded with the tribunal to allow his plea.

But Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Yusuf Ubale, said ruling on the issue of amendment was adjourned to March 11.

Specifically, the adjournment was aimed at ruling on the petitioner’s application for amendment after which the tribunal would give rulings on other issues that were raised and reserved for judgment at a later date.

Earlier, the first respondent said: “Our motion of February 15, 2021 is to seek an order striking out or dismissing Agi’s petition for incompetence and being fundamentally defective. Our alternative to one above is an order striking out jointly or severally some specific paragraphs of the petition and any other order as the court pleases.

On his part, Ukweni said: “We are in support of the application and our preliminary objection is a wage that will further push the case.”

INEC also supported the petition of the first respondent, urging the tribunal to dismiss the application.

But Sani said: “We filed a seven- counter affidavit disposed to by the first petitioner on March 1, 2021 and we adopt the written address and urge his lordship to dismiss the first respondent’s application.”

The first respondent also raised the issue of jurisdiction, while the tribunal said rulings on the first respondent’s plea to strike out the petition and the issue of jurisdiction were reserved to for hearing along with the tribunal’s ruling on the substantive case at a later date.

The tribunal asked the litigants to supply authorities sited, as the rule stated that all applications must be taken at pre-trial before hearing proper, which would be daily except on Sundays.

“We will not allow anybody to frustrate the petition,” it maintained.

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