The Cross River Election Petitions Tribunal on Monday dismissed the petition filed by Labour Party’s candidate, Sen. Bassey Otu, seeking to nullify the election of Sen. Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River South).
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice A.O. Adeniyi, who read the tribunal’s three-hour judgement, said Otu’s petition lacked merit on all the issues raised, and accordingly, he dismissed the petition.
“The Tribunal rejected the claims by Otu that Sen. Bassey did not have his original West African School Certificate to contest the election.
“Otu failed to prove that the certificate presented by Sen. Bassey is not genuine.
“INEC requires that a candidate presents a photocopy of his credentials and if someone is not satisfied with the credentials presented by the candidate, he should present the one which is genuine.
‘’The petitioner in this case did not do so.”
He said that the tribunal also rejected the evidence of witnesses who testified in favour of Labour Party’s candidate that elections in some polling units and wards did not hold because card readers did not work.
“INEC dispelled the claims that the elections did not hold in some units because the card readers did not work as manual accreditation was allowed where the card readers failed.”
Adeniyi said that the tribunal also rejected the report of the forensic expert who testified that ballot papers were thumb printed in Akamkpa and Biase Local Government Areas in favour of Bassey.
The tribunal also dismissed the petition filed by Mr Alex Egbonna of Labour Party for lack of evidence to show electoral malpractice.
The petitioner had challenged the victory of Rep. Bassey Ewa (PDP) in the March 28 House of Representatives election for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency.
Egbonna had also prayed the tribunal to nullify the election, saying that it was not conducted in compliance with the provisions of the electoral act.
Adeniyi said:“The petitioner has failed to establish evidence of electoral malpractices to warrant nullification of the election.
“The petitioner has also failed to prove his case beyond any reasonable doubt by not establishing the allegations of malpractices and non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act.
“We hereby dismiss the petition for lack of merit,’’ he said.