15th July, 2011
The National and House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Cross River State has struck out the case instituted by Mr John Ukpan Odey of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, against Hon Francis Adah of the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP.
The petition by Odey against Adah who represents Obanlikwu, Obudu and Bekwara Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, sought to nullify the election on the grounds of electoral malpractices through the snatching of ballot boxes/papers, massive rigging and others.
Adah, through his counsel, Chief Joe Agi (SAN) urged the tribunal to strike out the petition on grounds that the matter was filed 23 days after the result was declared contrary to section 285 of the constitution which says such petition should be filed within 21 days.
He also argued that all the witnessesâ€™ statement by Odey did not comply with section 90 of the evidence act hence they are defective.
In their ruling, the three Judges led by Justice Mohammed Nabaruma who is the Chairman, upheld the position raised by Agi and accordingly struck out the case.
The case by ACN candidate, John Ekpenyong, against Okon Ephraim of PDP was also struck out for lack of evidence.
Ekpenyong said he was excluded from the election hence the election of Ephraim should be nullified.
But Agi raised objection and challenged the witness statement on oath that he did not meet the mandatory provision of section 90 of the Evidence Act and urged the tribunal to strike out the witness statement on oath.
This brings to three the total number of petitions the tribunal has ruled on. A week ago the member representing Calabar South, Akpabuyo and Bakassi in the House of Representatives, Mr. Essien Ayi, won his case against William Ballantyne of the ACN and the member representing Calabar South in the State House of Assembly.
â€” Emma Una/Calabar