There is growing anxiety in political circles in Cross River State, as politicians whose cases are pending at the various tribunals look forward to judgement day. No date has been fixed for judgement in any of the cases.
But hearing in virtually all the cases have ended and judgements reserved. The one that seems to attract more concern is the case involving Senator Sandy Onor of the PDP and Senator Prince Bassey Otu of the APC over the March 2023 gubernatorial election outcome.
While Onor believes that the governor and his deputy, Peter Odey were not qualified ab initio to contest the election and should be sacked for him to be declared winner of the election, Otu and Odey have told the tribunal to dismiss Onor’s petition against them for lacking in merit.
Those close to Onor have high hopes, that the tribunal will do justice to the case and are of the view that the PDP candidate will win. On the other hand, Otu’s men believe that the grounds of Onor’s petition were not sufficient to warrant a judgement in his favour.
Newly inaugurated commissioner for information in the state, Mr Erasmus Ekpang is among those who are upbeat, that judgement will go in favour of the governor and his party, the APC.
He told TNN in an interview that they were full of high hopes that they would win. According to him, “we are positive. We expect victory.” He refused to say more.
Also, on the part of the PDP, its candidate believes that his team of lawyers did a good job of proving their case and defending the petition before the tribunal. Onor told TNN in a chat that he was sure of victory based on the case he presented before and defended at the tribunal.
TNN observed that since the day the tribunal ended its hearing and adjourned for judgement, there have been some agitations on the part of all the parties involved.
The other cases whose judgements are also being awaited are the ones involving Prof Ben Ayade of the APC against Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe. Ayade, the immediate past governor, wants the election of Jarigbe annulled and for a fresh election to be held.
But Jarigbe has argued that Ayade has no case as he was defeated fair and square in a free and fair election.
Also, Dr Alex Egbona of the APC who represents the Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives is upbeat that his election will be upheld at the tribunal, having defeated John Ifere of the Labour Party in a wide margin. But Ifere believes that even though he came third; and even though the person who emerged second-the PDP candidate-did not contest the outcome of the election, he ought to have been declared winner.