The Cross River Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar on Tuesday dismissed the petition by Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), challenging the declaration of Sen. Liyel Imoke as Governor of the State.
The Party had in March 23rd 2012, filed a petition against the declaration of PDP’S Candidate as winner of the Feb. 25 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the petition no EPT/CR/GOV/1/2012, ACN and its candidate, Mr. Usani Usani claimed that PDP did not conduct Primaries in accordance with Sect. 8 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended. The party therefore challenged the validity of the nomination of Sen. Imoke as candidate of PDP in the said election.
In his Judgment, Justice Ishaq Bello stated that the issue of nomination of a candidate by any Political party to stand for election on its behalf was its sole responsibility. He also maintained that it was only a member of the same political party that can challenge the nomination of any candidate by a political party.
“It is only a member of the same political party that can challenge the nomination of a candidate” he said. The presiding Judge further said that the Supreme Court ruling on Jan. 27, which terminated the tenure of Imoke did not mention anything about primary election. He stated: “The primary election was never part of the ruling of the Supreme Court”.
He said that the shifting of the election time table from April 14 to Feb. 25 by INEC was for the convenience of the Commission adding that, it is their constitutional right to adjust the time table in view of the prevailing circumstance. Bello stated that the Judgment of the Supreme Court did not alter or cancel the primary of the PDP that was held on Jan 23rd and which produced Imoke as PDP candidate.
According to him; ``no iota of evidence was tendered to support the allegations of irregularities during the election; the allegations were catalogue of violation of electoral acts. We hereby resolved the issue in favour of the respondents. The said election was conducted in partial fulfillment of the electoral act 2010 as amended and the petition is hereby dismissed as lacking in merit” he stated.