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Cross River State Election Petition Tribunal Dismisses PDP’s Suit Against Deputy Governor’s Dual Citizenship

In a recent development, the Cross River State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has made a significant ruling, dismissing a petition brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Prof Sandy Onor, against Governor Bassey Otu and Deputy Governor Peter Odey of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The tribunal’s decision was based on the grounds that the issues raised concerning the deputy governor’s dual citizenship and the governor’s qualification were pre-election matters and therefore statute barred.

The three-man panel of the tribunal gathered in Calabar on Tuesday to deliver the final verdict on the petition numbered EPT/CR/GOV/02/2023, which was filed by the PDP and its candidate to challenge Governor Otu’s election. The petition alleged that Deputy Governor Odey had sworn allegiance as a British citizen, raising concerns about his eligibility for the position.

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During the proceedings, the tribunal emphasized that the petitioners failed to provide any exhibits or averments to substantiate their claims. As a result, they lacked the required evidence to prove their case. Additionally, the tribunal ruled that the petitioners did not have the locus standi to raise questions regarding the membership of political parties, as it was a pre-election issue.

In a unanimous decision, the tribunal dismissed the petition without cost, thereby upholding Governor Otu’s election as the governor of Cross River State. This ruling brings an end to the legal battle initiated by the PDP and its candidate.

The tribunal’s decision has generated significant interest among political observers and citizens alike. It highlights the importance of adhering to the legal framework and timelines for addressing pre-election matters. By dismissing the petition, the tribunal has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice prevails.

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Governor Bassey Otu expressed his gratitude for the tribunal’s ruling, stating that it validates the trust and confidence placed in him by the people of Cross River State. He emphasized his commitment to fulfilling his campaign promises and working towards the development and progress of the state.

Deputy Governor Peter Odey, on the other hand, expressed relief following the dismissal of the petition. He reiterated his dedication to serving the people of Cross River State and contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of the region.

The PDP and its candidate, Prof Sandy Onor, have yet to issue an official statement regarding the tribunal’s decision. However, political analysts anticipate that this ruling will have significant implications for the party’s future strategies and political dynamics in Cross River State.

As news of the tribunal’s verdict spreads, it is important to note that this ruling may have wider implications beyond the immediate context. It sets a precedent for future cases involving dual citizenship and pre-election matters, providing clarity on the legal framework and timelines for addressing such issues.

The dismissal of the petition by the tribunal serves as a reminder that the electoral process is governed by specific rules and regulations. It underscores the significance of conducting thorough investigations and providing substantial evidence when challenging election results or raising concerns about the eligibility of candidates.

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With the tribunal’s ruling now in the public domain, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the political landscape of Cross River State. As the state moves forward, it is crucial for all stakeholders to respect the rule of law and work towards the collective goal of promoting good governance and democratic principles.

In conclusion, the Cross River State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal’s dismissal of the petition brought by the PDP against Governor Otu and Deputy Governor Odey marks a significant milestone in the state’s political landscape. The tribunal’s decision not only upholds the rule of law but also provides clarity on the legal framework surrounding pre-election matters and dual citizenship. As this news spreads, it is likely to shape future political dynamics and strategies in Cross River State.

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