Friday, 1 November 2019

Abi State House: Appeal court to deliver judgment today

The court of Appeal sitting in Calabar is set to listen to and possibly deliver judgement today over an appeal brought to it by Hon. Davies Etta, member representing Abi in the Cross River State House of Assembly.

Recall that the Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice A. A. Babawale had in its ruling, declared the election of Dr. Davies Etta of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, null and void and called for a rerun to be conducted in some units, while ruling on a petition by Iwara Inah, the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate. 

She said votes in fifteen polling units numbering ten thousand four hundred votes which were cancelled could decide if victory could go one way or the other among the candidates. 

Justice Babanwale ordered a rerun to be conducted in the fifteen polling units within ninety days and called for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return given to the PDP candidate.

Appealing the judgment, Hon. Etta had argued that it is only INEC's voters' register that can truly ascertain if the number of registered voters domiciled in the affected 15 polling units are upto the 10, 000 votes as claimed by his opponent which the tribunal ruled on. 

Etta further explained to TDN in an exclusive interview that should the actual number of registered voters in the affected polling units be less than the acclaimed 10,000 votes then there was no basis for calling for a rerun in those units because anything short of 10,000 votes wouldn't give his opponent elctorial victory even in a rerun. 

In a message addressed to his supporters and constituents, Dr. Davies disclosed that he is not perturbed as to what the outcome of the judgement will be although he hopes to be victorious at the end of the day. 

He further explained that even if the judgement is not to his favour, he still has a better standing as the tribunal had only asked for a rerun in some polling units. He went on to say that the said  polling units which the tribunal asked for a rerun to be conducted are in familiar terrains and as such he is not perturbed even if a rerun is the last option available for him to defend his mandate. 

He also maintained that following the results announced by INEC after the elections and upheld by the tribunal, he still has an outstanding approximated 5000 votes ahead of his opponent and that the total number of registered voters in the 15 polling units canceled is less than 10,000  and those 15 polling unit are PDP controlled units, therefore, he is double sure of victory should a rerun be conducted. 

TDN also gathered than the case between Hon. Alex Egbona candidate of the APC and currently representing Abi, Yakurr Federal Constituency at the Green Chambers and Rt. Hon. John Gaul Lebo of the PDP and the immediate past speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly will also be heard as juagment might likely be passed. 

Recall that the election Petition Tribunal had also upturn the election of Hon. Alex Egbona ordering INEC to issue certificate of returns to Rt. Hon. John Gaul.