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 Sandy Ojang Onor has withdrawn some petitions instituted against Governor Otu in the on-going election petition tribunal sitting in calabar.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.