Breakdown of Election Petition in Cross River, other states

Governorship, National Assembly and state House of Assembly candidates of the different political parties, who the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared as losers, in the February 25 and March 18 elections, have approached the respective Election Tribunals set up in their states, with about 327 petitions against the electoral umpire, and the declared winners.

Among the losers are at least three governors: Ben Ayade (Cross River State), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi) and Simon Lalong (Plateau) who contested the senatorial election.

Sunday Vanguard reports that the petitions came in as of Wednesday, and more were likely to come before the expiration of the deadline for the submission of petitions.

Petitions filed in Abia State (35) top the list, followed by Anambra (31), Lagos (30), Delta (25), Kano (23), Benue (17) and Plateau (16) while the least (three) are from Yobe.

There had been no petitions filed in Oyo and Ogun as of the time of this report.

Election losers under the Electoral Act 2022 have 21 days from the date of declaration of results to challenge the outcome.

The situation in affected states is causing anxiety as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of tardiness in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, and the implication is that, should the lapses be proven at the different Election Petition Tribunals across the country, many of the election results may be overturned.

The presidential election result is already being challenged at the Appeal Court, which is the tribunal for the poll, by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr Peter Obi respectively.

INEC had declared Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner.

The trial of the National Assembly and state assembly elections’ petitions begins at the tribunal and ends at the Appeal Court while the governorship begins at the tribunal but stretches up to the Supreme Court.

CROSS RIVER: Ayade, Onors, others file 13 petitions

In Cross River State, the Secretary of the three-man Election Petition Tribunal sitting over the February 25 National Assembly elections in the state, A.D Bambur, acknowledged that they had received 13 petitions from the different political parties.

Of the 13 petitions, three candidates challenged those INEC declared as winners in the three senatorial districts of the state, just as 10 others queried the conduct of the House of Representatives poll.

Bambur said the tribunal had commenced sitting, and already granted leave to parties to inspect materials used for the elections, following their respective applications. He added that the parties were currently serving summons and petitions to each other.

A passing look at the cases shows that Governor Ben Ayade, who lost his bid to return to the Senate to the incumbent senator, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed petition number EPT/CRS/Sen/2/2023 against Jarigbe.

Ayade vied for the Cross River Northern Senatorial District seat on the platform of APC.

The PDP candidate in Cross River Central, Hon Bassey Eko Ewa, filed a petition listed as EPT/CRS/SEN/1/2023 against Rt. Hon Eteng Williams of the APC, who is the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly.

Cross River Southern Senatorial District petition is from Rt. Hon. Daniel Asuquo of the Labour Party, and others versus Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr of the APC in suit number EPT/CRS/SEN/03/2023.

Former House of Representatives member, Hon. Atta Ochinke, also filed a petition against APC’s Hon Victor Abang in Ikom/Boki Federal Constituency.

The APC candidates for Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency and Obudu/Bekwarra/Obanliku Federal Constituency, Hon. Jude Ngaji and  Rt.Hon. Legor Idagbo, are said to be at the Tribunals but their summons haven’t gotten to their opponents.

The PDP governorship candidate, defeated in the March 18 governorship poll, Senator Sandy Onor, has also vowed to challenge the process that made INEC to declare Sen. Bassey Otu as the winner.

Onor alleged that the exercise was characterized by irregularities, including over-voting, and vote-buying amongst others.

Hon. Thomas Aruku of the APC, who contested the Ogoja State Constituency seat, is also going to the tribunal to challenge the victory of Hon Rita Ayim of the PDP.

Sunday Vanguard reports that there was still time for the submission of more petitions, as many of those who participated in the House of Assembly polls were putting finishing touch to their petitions before submission.

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