Cross River tribunal strikes out all appeals against PDP
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday struck out all 10 petitions filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) candidates.
Earlier in the day, the tribunal had struck out the petition of Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba of APC against Senator Sandy Onor of the PDP.
The tribunal headed by Justice Vincent Agbata in its ruling on nine other cases also annulled the election of Alex Egbonna representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency and the only member elected in the 2019 polls in Cross River State.
It declared John Gual-Lebo of the PDP winner in the polls with the highest valid votes having considered the APC candidate, “a lawful candidate according to the law as on elections day.”
Consequently, the tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Egbonna and reissue it PDP’s Gual-Lebo.
Gaul-Lebo had challenged the declaration of Egbonna, who is the first respondent as the winner of the election into the Abi/Yakurr Federal constituency.
Eight other judgments by the three-man panel yesterday also went in favour of PDP candidates who were elected into the national and states assembly.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu dismissed the petition filed by APC, against the election of Toby Okechukwu representing Awgu/Oji-River/Aninri in the House of Representatives.
APC’s candidate in the election, Vin Martins Ilo, had challenged INEC’s declaration of Okechuwku as the winner of the poll in court.
Ilo claimed that Okechukwu was not elected by valid majority votes, adding that the exercise was marred irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and INEC’s guidelines for the election.
He asked the tribunal to declare the election invalid and in the alternative order for fresh polls.
Okechukwu had however told the Tribunal that he was duly elected with valid votes cast during the election, a position corroborated by the PDP, which affirmed that the election was peaceful and devoid of violence.
But in its judgment, the three-man panel led by Justice H.H. Kerang resolved all the issues in favour of the respondents.
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