March 4, 2021

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Tribunal’s judgement Against Egbona Is Black Market Product, Say Constituents

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There have been serious condemnation and criticism to the judgement of the elections petition tribunal sitting in Calabar, in which the former speaker, John Gaul Lebo was declared winner of the Abi/Yakurr Federal constituency election. The people describe the judgement as a black market product.
The judgement left most people confused, especially after the same tribunal had ruled that the issue of candidacy which the APC candidates canvassed in all their petitions were pre-election matters, only to do a u-turn on the case involving Dr Alex Egbona and Lebo, ruling that Egbona was not a candidate in the election.
The judgement created the impression that the judges may have been bribed to give the judgement which was seen to have been skewed in favour of the PDP candidate. Recall that only Egbona was able to win an election for the APC in all the elections that took place.
Recall also, that a former governor in the state and even the sitting governor, Prof Ben Ayade had sworn that Egbona’s election would be upturned at the tribunal. All the cases filed at the tribunal were decided in favour of the PDP.
Since then, the tribunal chairman, Justice Vincent Agbata and his team have come under severe attacks. They are being accused of compromise in the handling of the case.
Mr Anthony Igiri who reacted to the judgement said” rejoicing over a black market ruling is ignorance of the highest order as if John Gaul has taken over. We should not be worried because the wrong will be right in the appeal court. Dr. Alex Egbona remains the House of Representatives member for Abi/ Yakurr Federal Constituency.
Another respondent, Ofem Okoi said “the tribunal is not the apex court in this matter. We have seen cases that are more technical than this. APC won Wike in tribunal and appeal court but he got it in Supreme Court. The case in Ogun state is still fresh. This is a political algebra whose equation can easily be balanced.
“It is not what the judge in tribunal read that is ultimatum, but how it will end in appeal. Was it not the same resident electoral commissioner that said in the evening, that APC had no candidate, that by 2.pm announced that APC had a candidate?
Evangelist Ubi Etowa reacted this way: Never in our life can Abi/Yakurr mandate be used to settle master and servant relationship to satisfy personal interest, greed and selfishness. The judgement will fail when tested to the crucible of appeal court, same reason which was based to strike out other cases was the one advanced by the legal team of your PDP opponent but the tribunal lost sight and acted otherwise.”
However, Simon Utsu said: Congrats to the former speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Gaul Lebo, on his victory today at the election petition of Abi/Yakurr federal constituency. His legal team presented a good case and won. The judgement will definitely be appealed by Alex Egbona but the tide is on favour of the former speaker who is just a step away from the final victory.
Ebeya Solomon countered that position in his comment on the matter. He said “his victory was a mandate given to him by our people. By virtue of our judiciary system, one is not surprised of the latest development; but we thank God that there is a court called the appeal court. So, we are not demoralized by the judgement of the tribunal. His(Egbona) mandate is our mandate and that we will get at the appeal court. God bless Abi/Yakurr

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