The Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in December 5, 2020 Cross River North Senatorial by-election, Mr. Joe Agi (SAN) has declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no candidate for the election.
Agi petitioned the candidacy of Dr. Stephen Odey (first respondent) and that of Mr. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (second respondent) as PDP candidates at the By-election Petition Tribunal for the by-election, in which Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) eventually declared Odey as winner.
Odey was also issued certificate of return by INEC and was subsequently, inaugurated by the Senate.
But in a twist of event, Jarigbe upturned Odey’s victory at the High, Appeal and Supreme Courts and was issued a certificate of return, but yet to be sworn in by the Senate.
While responding to cross-examination from the respondents’ counsel at weekend, Agi told the tribunal: “Form EC 60 E says that results must be declared and published at Polling booth in Form EC 60 E and when the result is entered in Form EEA 1 in the polling booth, the Presiding Officer should publish the result in Form EC 60 E, which has names of candidates, parties and scores.”
He said the second form was a statement and not a publication and the first form did not carry the names of PDP candidates, noting that he was in no way challenging the result of the election, but making a case on points of law and facts that the PDP had no known candidate for the election in question, as at December 5, 2020, when the polls held.
The petitioner stated that he observed the infighting within PDP and saw the opening for which he could explore in his favour, saying: “My Lords, the crux of my case is that PDP had no known candidate. Till date, their crisis is still on and the fourth respondent has so far issued certificate of return to two different persons laying claims to an election they did not participate, as it is lawfully expected”.
Agi, therefore, asked the tribunal to declare him the lawful winner, having come second and at this stage, Lead Counsel to the petitioner, Matthew Burkaa closed their case.
With the close of the petitioner’s case, Odey’s Lead Counsel, Mr. Olabode Olanikpekun, pleaded with the tribunal that he needed to get his client and other witnesses to be in court before opening his case and that request was granted, as the tribunal Chairman, Justice Yusuf Muhammad adjourned to March 24 for Odey (first respondent) to open his case.
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