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Cross River by-election tribunal to rule on PDP’s objection March 4

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The Election Petition Tribunal at its resumed sitting in Calabar, yesterday, reserved March 4, 2021, for ruling on Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) preliminary application on the Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.

It demanded that the petition of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the by-election, Joe Agi SAN, be dismissed for lack of merit.

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In his petition marked: EPT/CR/SEN/03/2020, Agi asked to be declared the winner of the December 5, 2020 by-election in the case between him and the APC first and second petitioners versus Steven Odey, Jerigbe Agom Jerigbe, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as first to fourth respondents.

He said he should be declared the winner as second runner-up in the election insisting that because PDP that was announced winner had no candidate and none of the two persons parading themselves as candidates went through the required processes of the poll to be declared winner.

But counsel to PDP, Adedamola Fanokun, in his preliminary objections asked the tribunal to strike out and dismiss Agi’s petition for lack of merit.

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Odey’s counsel, Offiong Offiong, informed the tribunal that the first respondents had a pending application which was still within the time frame for the petitioners to reply and for his further response to their rejoinder.

Counsel to the petitioners, Muhammad Shaibu, had opposed PDP’s application demanding to dismiss the petition on the grounds that it lacked merit and could be taken outside the purview of the main petition.

Shaibu further asked the tribunal to discountenance the submissions of other respondents supporting the PDP’s application, particularly that of INEC, saying: “INEC has no business to support the application by the PDP because they are a neutral body and should remain so.”

The tribunal headed by Justice Yusuf Ubale Muhammad ruled that judgment on PDP’s preliminary application was reserved to March 4, 2021, and would be heard along with the substantive judgment in the case marked: EPT/CR/SEN/03/2020.

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