Supreme Court Upholds Bassey Otu’s Election As Cross River Governor

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Bassey Otu as the governor of Cross River State.

In its lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, the apex court dismissed an appeal the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Prof. Sandy Onor, filed to challenge the return of Otu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winner of the governorship poll that was held in the state on March 18, 2023.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro, held that the appeal was without merit and amounted to a waste of judicial time.

It disclosed that the appellants failed to establish their claim that Governor Otu was bereft of the requisite educational qualifications.

The Supreme Court held that the appeal contained pre-election issues that had become statute barred.

“The Supreme Court will not subvert the wishes of the people on inconsequential issues that are against the settled principles of law,” Justice Ogunwumiju held.

It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Otu the winner of the governorship election.

The commission said he polled 258,619 votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Onor, who scored 179,636.

However, dissatisfied with the outcome of the poll, the PDP and its candidate filed a petition to nullify it.

The petitioners, among other things, alleged that Governor Otu was not educated up to school certificate level, insisting that there were discrepancies in the certificate he submitted to INEC.

In a judgement delivered on September 26, 2023, the Cross River State Governorship Election Tribunal dismissed the case.

The verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Otu’s election victory.

While affirming the concurrent verdicts of the lower court, the Supreme Court noted that it was not the case of the appellants that Governor Otu forged his certificates.

The Supreme Court wondered why the appellants would allege that Otu, who is a university graduate who had served as both a member of the House of Representatives and a senator, was not qualified for the governorship poll.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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