Cross River Governorship Election: Tribunal Upholds Governor Bassey Otu’s Victory

Cross River Governorship Election Tribunal Decision

The Cross River Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has delivered its verdict, upholding the election victory of Governor Bassey Otu.


Petition Dismissed

The three-man tribunal panel, led by Justice Oken Inneh, unanimously dismissed the petition filed by Senator Sandy Onor, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Onor had contested Governor Otu’s election, which was won on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).


Educational Qualifications Challenge

One of the key arguments in the PDP’s petition was the claim that Governor Otu lacked the necessary educational qualifications required for the position.

Jonah Musa (SAN), representing Senator Onor, presented this argument.


Defensive Argument

Counsel to Governor Otu and the APC, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), vehemently opposed the petition’s claims.

He argued that the issues raised had already been resolved in five separate cases involving the same parties during pre-election matters.


Educational Requirements Defined

Ozekhome explained that the Tribunal rejected the challenge regarding Governor Otu’s school certificate, citing previous court decisions.

He emphasized that the Supreme Court had defined the requirements as those who can read and write and have attempted a school certificate or its equivalent.

Governor Otu had completed his university education, and the petitioners failed to provide witnesses to disprove the certificates presented.


Dual Citizenship Allegation Dismissed

The petitioners also alleged that Peter Odey, the deputy governor of the State, held dual citizenship and pledged allegiance to the United Kingdom.

However, the Tribunal ruled that this issue fell under pre-election matters and was statute-barred.


Verdict and Potential Appeal

After considering all arguments, the panel judges ruled in favor of Governor Otu, citing a lack of merit in the petition.

No cost was imposed on the petitioner.


Acceptance and Review of Judgment

The lawyer representing Onor and the PDP accepted the judgment, stating that they would review the decision with their client before deciding whether to file an appeal.

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