Cross River By-election: Appeal Court Affirms Jarigbe as PDP’s Candidate

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By Alex Enumah

The Court of Appeal, Abuja yesterday affirmed the declaration of Agom Jarigbe as the duly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Cross River North senatorial by-election that held on Saturday, December 5, 2020.

Justice Binta Mohammed of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had in her judgment declared Jarigbe as validly nominated by the PDP for the by-election.

Dissatisfied, an aspirant, Mr John Alaga approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the trial court.

However, in a unanimous judgment, the appellate court dismissed the appeal as frivolous, vexatious and abuse of court process.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Peter Ige held that having not participated in the primary election of the party, the appellant lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.

“The appellant lacked the locus standi to institute the suit in the first place. I wonder why the trial court did not make pronouncement on this. Only a person who participated in the primary election of a political party that has the power to challenge the outcome of the election and not a third party who did not participate in the election.

“There is no evidence before the court that the appellant participated in the primary election. He only exhibited his party card and no other exhibit. The action of the appellant is a gross abuse of court process.

Justice Ige further held that the facts stated by the respondents to the appeal in their affidavit evidence are well founded and have not been contradicted by the appellant.

“The materials put forward by the 1st and 2nd respondents have dislodged the evidence adduced by the appellant. The court also held that the appellant did not prove allegations of forgery which is criminal in nature and needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

The court accordingly dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit and award a cost of N250,000 against the appellant in favour of the 1st respondent and N100,000 in favour of the 2nd respondent.

Justice Binta Mohammed had in her judgment, held that contrary to the claim of the claimant, the defendant (Jarigbe) did not supply any false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in his INEC Form CF001 by purporting to have sat for / and or obtained educational qualification making him eligible to contest for the Cross River North senatorial by-election.