C’river Governorship tussle: Dual Citizenship not a disqualifying factor -Ozakhome

By Ene Asuquo 

The council for defendants Governor Bassey Otu and Hon. Peter Odey, being the second and third respondents respectively in the on going 2023 Governorship election petition tribunal sitting in calabar, Chief Mike Ozakhome SAN has said in his submission to the court that dual citizenship is not a disqualifying factor in an election in Nigeria.

Chief Ozakhome SAN said this while responding to questions from journalists shortly after the tribunal rose from sitting in calabar, where he had opened and closed his case for the second and third respondents.

Recalled that the petitioner hinged on the alleged Oath of allegiance sworn by the third respondent, Hon. Peter Odey, but chief Ozakhome responded by saying that in law, “the burden of proof is on he who makes the allegations” adding that the petitioner could not proof that as they didn’t have any documents to tender to the tribunal as evidence.

He said further that the third respondent, Hon Peter Odey is a full fledged Nigerian, born in Nigeria, that he only acquired the citizenship of the united kingdom letter. His words;

“Petitioner made the allegations that he has sworn to an oath of allegiance to the united kingdom, but could not tender any document to back up their claims”.

He noted that the same party, PDP and Sandy Onor had some time brought this same petition during the pre- election that Otu and Odey had qualification and citizenship issues, but maintained that in all  those cases, from the lower to appeal, the court gave judgements in favour of Otu and Odey, and that the court ruled that there was no disqualifying element in their credentials.

Similarly, council to the petitioner, Dr Joshua Yusuf SAN said the second and third respondents have opened and closed their cases.According to him; “we have cross examine all the witnesses and it is all about their qualification”

Dr Yusuf maintained that the Oath of allegiance by the third respondent is the main feature in the case, which is the issue of dual citizenship by Hon Peter Odey.

He stressed that witnesses the respondent presented in court were not witnesses that could answer questions on personal documents, describing their appearance as a documentary “hearsay” 

Meanwhile, all the parties in the matter are to summit their written address for adoption as the tribunal adjourned it’s sitting to 14th of August 2023