From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar has sacked Sen Stev Odey and upheld the election of Rt Hon Jarigbe A Jarigbe, Senator-elect of Cross River North Senatorial district.
This brings to an end the about ten months of legal tussle eyween Odey and Jarigbe, member representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency, over who is the authentic candidate and winner of PDP primary election
The three man tribunal headed by Hon. Justice Chioma Iheme-Nwosu dismissed an earlier ruling by the Tribunal which declared Senator Odey winner.
The Court in Suit No CAL/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021 ruled that the tribunal erred by making a resolution in an area it had no jurisdiction.
The court dismissed the preliminary injunctions and maintained that considering the facts and circumstances, judgment is best served by going into the merit of the appeals.
It held that their job has been made easier by the previous judgments tendered to the court and they have decided to give effects to the previous judgments since the tribunal refused to do so.
The judge maintained that it is an affront for the tribunal to jettison the decision of the Supreme Court on the authentic candidate of the PDP.
The judge said, “it is our humble and firm view that the issue calls for consideration whether the tribunal was right to jetission the decision of the High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court and declare the 1st Respondent (Odey) as validly elected.
“The tribunal is bound by the decisions of superior courts on the same issue.
“The law does not allow the tribunal to take a different position as the law has already affirmed that Hon. Jarigbe is the candidate validly sponsored.
“The Election Tribunal has no right to determine the candidate of the party as it is a pre election issue.
“We are bound by the decisions of previous courts and return Jarigbe as the Senator Elect for Cross River North.
“INEC is ordered to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe and that of Odey withdrawn. And the judgment of the election tribunal is hereby set aside”, the judge said.
The judgment was affirmed by the three members of the panel and no order was made as cost.
The court also dismissed all the cross appeals.
In his reaction, a chieftain of the PDP, Venatius Ikem:”The party has finally been vindicated and the impunity they have been subjected to has come to an end.”