Legal Nigeria

Appeal court declares Jarigbe senator representing Cross River North

Ada Wodu

The Appeal Tribunal sitting in Calabar on Friday declared Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe as Senator-elect in the December 5, 2020 Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.

The three-man tribunal headed by Hon. Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu dismissed an earlier ruling by the Election Petition Tribunal which declared Senator Stephen Odey 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 on which it had no jurisdiction.

The court further dismissed the preliminary objections and ruled that considering the facts and circumstances, judgment was best served by considering the merit of the appeal.

According to the court, their job has been made easier by the previous judgments tendered before the court and they have 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 PDP.

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 First 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 Hon. 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“INEC is ordered to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe and that of Odey withdrawn.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 appeals were dismissed.

The Appeal 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 that the party had finally been vindicated and the impunity they had been subjected to had come to an end.

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