January 16, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeals, sitting in Calabar, has reserved a ruling on a case seeking the disqualification of Senator Prince Bassey Otu, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Cross River State.
The case with Suit Number CA/C/392/2022, is between the Cross River State PDP and Senator Professor Sandy Onor as Appellants, while the APC, Senator Bassey Otu, Hon. Peter Odey and INEC are defendants.
This follows the final argument by counsels to both parties and they adopted their briefs of argument.
The Appellants in the suit are seeking the disqualification of Prince Otu on the grounds that his running mate, Peter Odey, is still a member of their party and also has dual citizenship.
Speaking on the case, counsel to the first to third respondent, Mike Ozekhome SAN, said they have been able to demonstrate to the court why the appeal is unmeritorious, misconceived and illusionary.
In his words, “We have been able to demonstrate to the court why this appeal is grossly unmeritorious, misconceived and based on illusionary points of law which are non-existent.
“We cited two decisions that the same court of appeal Calabar Judicial Division decided only last week to the effect that you cannot come from a political party like the PDP to come and look into the affairs of another rival political party.
“The question is, can you peep from your own political party into the affairs of another political party, in this case, the court of appeal said you are nothing but hired mourners.
“PDP was not a candidate in APC primaries and Section 29:5 of the new electoral act says that for you to complain, you must be an aspirant who contested an election in your political party.
“On the issue of dual citizenship, it was this same Calabar Division of the Court of Appeals that on the 3rd December 2015 decided on the matter in favour of Peter Odey.
“The Court held that once you are a citizen of Nigeria by birth, you can never be deprived of your Nigerian citizenship because you have acquired the citizenship of another country, that position of the law has not changed”, the Senior Advocate said.
On his part, counsel to the Appellants, First Baba Isa, said the membership of a political party is justice.
He argued that the failure of the third respondent to resign his membership of the first Appellant does affect the candidacy of the first respondent.
He said membership of a political party is evidenced by a document and resignation ought to be evidenced also.
He argued that the question is “The third respondent is our member, why are you making him a candidate in your party?”
The Federal High Court in Calabar had in its November 24, 2022 judgement decided the matter in favour of the respondents.
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THEWILL Correspondent, Aniekan Bassey has over six years experience that spans across several fields in print journalism including development communication, sexual reproductive and health rights issues, crime, climate change, social justice, business and human interest stories.