By Ene Asuquo 

People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) candidate  in the 2023 governorship elections,  Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor has withdrawn some petitions instituted against Governor Otu in the on-going election petition tribunal sitting in calabar.

The  PDP candidate withdrew his petitions after he had called four witnesses including a London based Immigration Expert Olusegun Thompson to testify on the matter.

Speaking  with Journalists in Càlabar shortly after  the tribunal  concluded business for the day  in Càlabar, counsel to the PDP candidate, Dr. Joseph Yusuf, made it known to journalists that  the  decision to withdraw some petitions is one of the best strategy  that he and his team needed to adopt.

In his words Yusuf said, “We called two additional witnesses for the petitioners and closed our case today.

“Our case is essentially on the qualification of the governor and the deputy governor.

“It’s all about strategy, we met and discovered that we should adopt this strategy as it is better and faster route for us and we are hopeful”.

Also speaking on the Issue, counsel to the APC Governorship candidate, Prof. Mike Ozekhome who was represented by   Kimasuade Edun, SAN stated that he was  holding  brief for the lead counsel Peof. Ozekhome, stated that  the petitioners have ten days to call their witnesses but since they have decided to close their case, they need some time to gather their witnesses.

Earlier in the court during the proceeding, the petitioners presented more documents to the tribunal to back up  their claims.

Documents presented by the claimant  include  British Nationality Act 1981, Citizenship Oath/Pledge, Home Office Form AN4 – Application for Naturalization as a British Citizen and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002.

An expert on immigration law, Mr. Olusegun Thompson who was also one of the supoboned witnesses  in his opinion on British citizenship of the third respondent  adopted on oath.

During Cross examination by counsel for INEC K.O.Balogun, claimed that under Section 42(2) of the British Naturalization Act, every qualified applicant must take the Oath of allegiance before his certificate of British Citizenship is issued.

Balogun stated that the third respondent had already informed that he has a waiver from taking the Oath through his Form EC9 but to his knowledge nobody has ever been granted that waiver.

 Also speaking, the fourth witness for the petitioners  Ikpi Ubana,  state legal adviser to the People’s Democratic Party PDP stated that  the third respondent is still in the PDP and has not tendered any resignation. 

Ubana stated   that the third respondent did not file any application for exemption from signing the Oath of Allegiance.

“Immediately you subscribe to the British citizenship, you swear to an oath of allegiance but the third respondent has neither presented  nor explained if he had a waiver”.

Meanwhile, the  tribunal  chairman,  Justice Oken Inneh had fixed 17 -20 July 2023 for  the respondents to open  and close its case.