Cross River State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in calabar has dismissed a petition filled by the New Nigeria People’s Party challenging the victory of Governor Bassey Otu.
The party and it’s Governorship candidate in the 2023 Gubernatorial election, Amb. Wilfred Bonse had filed a petition seeking to nullify the just concluded gubernatorial elections in the state.
The petitioner in Suit Number: EPT/CR/GOV/08/2023 had filed a petition on substantial non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act.
The party sought a declaration by the court that the non- inclusion of the party’s logo on the ballot paper used for the election was unlawful.
They also wanted a declaration by the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission conducts a fresh Governorship election in the state, while calling for an order to nullify the election for failure to include the logo of NNPP in line with an extant judgement by the Federal High Court and Appeal Court
As part of their prayers, the party also wanted the certificate of return issued to the Cross River State governor Senator Bassey Otu withdrawn.
While delivering a unanimous judgment, Justice Oken Inneh noted that the petitioners failed to establish that their candidate was unlawfully excluded and dismissed the case.
She said the petitioners only called two witnesses out of over 3000 pooling units and their testimonies were inconsistent.
Justice Inneh also maintained that NNPP did not name the candidate who was substituted and INEC did not monitor it’s primary in line with the Electoral Act.The tribunal therefore awarded a cost of one million Naira each in favour of all the respondents
Shortly after the judgment, Counsel for Senator Bassey Otu, Ededem Ani said “the matter was instituted by the NNPP and it’s supposed candidate in the last Gubernatorial elections against the governor, APC and INEC”.
“So the court today have dismissed that petition for being unmeritorious and rightly so because there was no basis for it and has given it the treatment it deserves”.
“We are grateful to the tribunal judgment because it represents one less distraction for Senator Bassey Edet Otu who was lawfully elected by the people of the state”,
Shortly after the tribunal sitting, efforts to make counsel to the petitioners, D. D. Ujong spoke to journalists proved abortive as he declined to make comments.