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INEC to issue certificate of return to Jarigbe as new Cross River North senator



 INEC to issue certificate of return to Jarigbe as new Cross River North senator

The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Friday declared Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as senator-elect, following the December 5, 2020 Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.

The three-man tribunal headed by Justice Chioama Iheme-Nwosu dismissed an earlier ruling by the Election Petition Tribunal, which declared Senator Stephen Odey the winner of that election.

The court in Suit No. CAL/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021 ruled that the tribunal erred by making a resolution in an area it had no jurisdiction.

It also dismissed the preliminary objections and ruled that, considering the facts and circumstances, judgment was best served by going into the merit of the appeals.

READ ALSO :Anambra : PDP jubilates over Appeal Court’s judgement

According to the court, its job has been made easier by the previous judgments tendered before it. The court said it decided to give effect to the previous judgments since the tribunal refused to do so.

Justice Iheme-Nwosu said it was an affront for the tribunal to jettison the decision of the Supreme Court on the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The judge said, “It is our humble and firm view that the issue calls for consideration whether the tribunal was right to jettison the decision of the High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court and declare the 1st Respondent (Odey) as validly elected.

“The tribunal is bound by the decisions of superior courts on the same issue. The law does not allow the tribunal to take a different position as the law has already affirmed that Mr Jarigbe is the candidate validly sponsored.

“The election tribunal has no right to determine the candidate of the party as it is a pre-election issue. We are bound by the decisions of previous courts and return Jarigbe as the senator-elect for Cross River North. INEC is ordered to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe and that of Odey withdrawn. The judgment of the elections tribunal is hereby set aside.”

All the three members of the panel unanimously affirmed the judgment and no order was made as cost, and all the cross appeals were dismissed.

The tribunal also dismissed the appeal by All Progressives Congress candidate in the election, Joe Agi, SAN.

Reacting, a PDP stalwart in the state, Venatius Ikem, said the party had been vindicated and the impunity it had been subjected to had come to an end.

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