“…lays claim to Certificate Of Return”
By Endurance Onun:
The struggle for who represents Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives has taken a new dimension after the candidate from the ex-minister, Usani Usani’s-led faction of APC filed a suit in the Court of Appeal, Calabar challenging the judgement delivered on 4th Sept., 2019 by the tribunal sitting on the election petition with suit number EPT/CAL/HR/11/2019 between Rt. Hon. John Gaul and Dr. Alex Egbona.
According to the appeal dated 23/09/2019, filed by All Progressive Congress and Barr. Eworo Egbe Echeng, as first and second appellants respectively and Dr. Alex Egbona, INEC, Rt. Hon John Gaul and PDP as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively, the appellants want the Court to order INEC to declare Barr. Eworo Egbe as winner of the 23rd February election and consequently issue Certificate of Return to him as House of Representatives member-elect for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency.
In the said Appeal Court suit made available to Cross River Daily, Barr. Eworo based his case on two grounds; firstly, that the Justices of the “Tribunal erred in law when they assumed jurisdiction and proceeded to determine the petition when the 1st Appellant [APC] was never served the petition filed on 15/3/2019” and secondly, that the Tribunal Justices also “erred in law when they held that 1st Appellant [APC] went for the election without a candidate”.
On the first ground, the suit explained that APC’s State Secretariat address is not No.10 Okoi Arikpo Estate, Barracks Road, Calabar as contained in the petition, but No. 117 Ndidem Usang Iso Road, Calabar; reason for which they [APC] were unaware of any pending petition before the Tribunal and thus, did not enter appearance nor filed any replies to the petition.
Also, on the second ground, the suit said that names of candidates submitted to INEC by the National Chairman of APC were delisted in obedience to an High Court orders contained in a suit FCT/HC/BW/CV/106/2018 which directed the names of candidates from the Etim John’s State EXCO to be submitted to INEC and recognized as APC’s candidates for the said election.
The suit which went further to question why the Tribunal would order INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Rt. Hon. John Gaul of PDP even when, according to it, APC scored the highest number of votes in the election, argued that Barr. Eworo Egbe and not Dr. Alex Egbona was the legitimate candidate of APC and beneficiary of all the votes recorded for APC.
In the same scenario, Cross River Daily can authoritatively report that Dr. Alex Egbona, another factional candidate of APC has also instituted a case in an Appeal Court challenging the Tribunal’s judgement of September 4th, 2019 which ordered INEC to retrieve the Certificate of Return issued to him and rather issue it on Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo of PDP whom, according to the Tribunal, was the lawful House of Representatives member-elect for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency.