By Bassey Inyang
The Federal High Court sitting in Calabar on Tuesday declared that Senator Gershom Bassey representing Cross River South senatorial district was academically qualified to contest the 2015 senatorial election.
Justice E A. Ibli made the declaration while delivering judgment in a pre-election matter instituted by Emmanuel Ironbar, challenging the eligibility of Bassey to contest the election.
In the judgment which lasted for about three hours, Ibli dismissed the case for lack of merit. The court held that Bassey has a Masters degree which exceeds the minimum academic requirement which is West African School Certificate, required to contest election in Nigeria.
Ibli said the second and third respondents in the matter, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were not properly served.
The court also held the plaintiff did not obtain the writ of summons from the court to serve the defendants.
Ibli said the academic qualifications filled by Bassey in his INEC Form 001 shows that he was qualified to contest the election.
“The plaintiff did not dispute the WASCE result written by the defendant in his INEC form 001 which was a broadsheet of the 1977 WASCE result of the Federal Government College Sokoto, by presenting the original one from WAEC, if they felt the one presented by the plaintiff is fake,” Ibli said.
The court ruled that claims by the plaintiff that the result presented by the defendant is forged was not proved since they did not present another one to show that one presented by the plaintiff is forged.
Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the plaintiff, Patrick Ekuri, said: “We have just gone through a very lengthy judgment and in most times we couldn’t get exactly what is being said so what we need to do is get a copy of the judgment, study it, and of course, we have the right of appeal and if we have to appeal we will ventilate that in the Appeal Court”
Counsel to Bassey, Mr. Etim Inyang described the judgment as satisfactory.
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