The Federal High Court in Calabar, Cross River State has dismissed a suit that sought to nullify the candidacies of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State.
Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu and Hon. Peter Agbe Odey was nominated as the governorship and deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River for the 2023 election.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Sandy Ojang Onor are challenging their eligibility as the APC candidates in suit number FHC/CA/CS/142/2022.
In their Originating Summons, PDP and its governorship candidate, Onor contended that the candidacy of Peter Odey was unconstitutional, arguing that he is not a duly registered member of the APC and he has dual citizenship having sworn to an oath of allegiance to the United Kingdom (UK).
Also joined in the suit is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, defended both Senator Bassey Otu and Odey against the PDP and Onor.
On Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Rosemary Dugbo Oghohorie dismissed the suit.
The court upheld the arguments canvassed by the defendant’s counsel, Ozekhome that the Defendants were duly elected and qualified.
The court held that the uncontroverted evidence before the court clearly showed that Odey was duly registered in his ward as a member of the APC.
On the second issue related to his dual citizenship, the court agreed with Ozekhome that Odey from the evidence before the court, is a citizen of Nigeria by birth and therefore his citizenship of the UK cannot vitiate his eligibility to contest for the office of the Deputy Governor of Cross River State.
The court, therefore, concluded that the suit of the plaintiffs was devoid of any merit whatsoever and accordingly dismissed the same.
By the judgment, Senator Otu and Odey remain the validly nominated candidates of the APC to contest the offices of Governor and Deputy Governor respectively, come 2023, the court ruled.
Reacting to the judgment, the APC governorship candidate lauded the judgment, saying that he has scored yet another victory in his march towards winning the election, barely two months after defeating Sen John Owan Enoh, who had also challenged his candidacy.
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