Court To Hear PDP’s Suit Seeking To Disqualify Cross River APC Guber And Deputy Guber Candidates Tomorrow

By Jonathan Ugbal, CrossRiverWatch


Justice Rosemary Dugbo Oghoghorie who presides over Court 2 in the Calabar Division of the Federal High Court on Monday adjourned to tomorrow, the hearing of a suit that seeks to disqualify the gubernatorial and deputy gubernatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River State from participating in the 2023 general elections.

The case, with suit number FHC/CA/CS/142/2022 has the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and Senator Sandy Onor as plaintiffs while the APC, Senator Bassey Otu, Honorable Peter Odey and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.

The matter which was listed for hearing was stood down after it was called because counsels to the defendants were appearing before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in Court 1 for a judgment on a suit seeking to replace the current APC guber candidate.

When it was called again, lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Mba E. Ukweni, SAN said they were ready to proceed. The lead counsel to the first defendant, Essien H. Andrew, SAN said they had filed a preliminary objection which Justice Dugbo said will be taken when the need arises.

But, counsel to the second and third defendants, Benson Igbanor informed the Court that they had just received the processes of regularization from the plaintiff and they were still within the three days required for them to reply to the plaintiff’s regularization process and on points of law.

He argued that so long as the Court’s registry was still open and there was nothing such as a half day, they still had time to file their processes.

While trying to explain further, he was cut off by Justice Dugbo who adjourned the matter to tomorrow for a hearing while ordering the next case to be called.

The parties are expected to adopt their processes tomorrow and adumbrate some teething issues while judgment will be fixed for another day.

The suit which was commenced by originating summons raised six questions for determination including whether the APC is eligible to participate in the 2023 guber elections in Cross River without presenting qualified Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates; whether Senator Otu and Honorable Odey are qualified to contest the guber elections; and whether INEC can publish Honorable Odey’s name as deputy guber candidate of the APC which has in her affidavit in a live appeal matter said he is not their member.

Also, the plaintiffs are seeking for determination, of whether Mr. Odey is not disqualified to contest as Deputy Guber candidate of the APC, having acquired citizenship in the United Kingdom and lied on oath that he did not do so; whether INEC can legally publish the second and third defendants as candidates if the first two questions are resolved in favor of the plaintiff and whether if any other question is resolved in the plaintiff’s favor will mean that the second defendant is also disqualified from contesting in the 2023 general elections


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