Tribunal Reserves Judgement On Ayade, Jarigbe Cross River North Senate Election Petition  

In Breaking News, Politics

By Emma Una

The 2023 Election Petitions Tribunal for Cross River North Senate petition,  EPT/CR/SEN/02/2023 brought before it by Senator Ben Ayade against the election of Senator Jarigbe Agom on Thursday reserved judgment on a date to be communicated to all the parties in the matter.

This is sequel to the conclusion of proceedings on oral and documentary evidence by all parties and the adoption of written addresses by counsels to the Tribunal headed by Justice M A Sambo.

Presenting his written address for adoption,  Mr. Michael Ozekhome, SAN, and counsel to Senator Ben Ayade called on the Tribunal to punish the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC,  for misleading information to the Tribunal. “INEC should  be thrashed with a whip legally for issuing us with  form EC 8 A and have come here to  tell  us that  it should have been Form  EC8A(1) which is misleading and fraudulent”

He said the 2010 Electoral Act provisions are in pari-passu with those of the  2022 Electoral Act therefore reference to the 2010 Electoral Act is not in error.

He restated his position that the 2023  Senatorial election for the Northern district of Cross River State was fraught with violence, mayhem, and malpractices which makes it shambolic and should therefore be annulled in the interest of democratic growth and justice.

“We presented forty-three witnesses who all amplified, testified, and identified the 770 exhibits tendered in the proceedings which clearly shows how the results of both parties were reached fraudulently”.

He refreshed the Tribunal on its pre-hearing rules that responses by counsels cannot be filed after the agreed period and stated that “paragraph one to five of the first schedule states that respondents arguments in this tribunal cannot extend the time which a party can do anything that relates to the Electoral Act and that is what the Third Respondent did, therefore his argument should be dismissed because Tribunal matters are special matters and do not allow the extension of time for a party to file his report”.

Mba Okweni, SAN, counsel to Senator Jarigbe Agom stated that the petition lacked merit and that the result of the election shows that Jarigbe scored 18,500 votes ahead of Senator Ayade and the petitioner was not able to prove that the votes nullified in the election can upturn the votes with which Jarigbe was ahead.

The Tribunal Chairman, Justice M A Sambo called on the counsels to provide the Tribunal with reference materials cited by them which would facilitate a  fast decision on the matter as the tribunal still has House of Representatives matters outstanding and has just three weeks left to round off all matters.

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