A human rights group, Global Center for Conscious Living Against Corruption has called for a review of the Appeal Court judgment which sacked Senator Stephen Odey and declared Chief Agom Jarigbe as senator-elect, Cross River North Senatorial District.
reports that the Executive Director of the group, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu, made the call while briefing journalists in Abuja, on Friday.
He claimed that the appellate court gave a wrong verdict in its decision which was affirmed Jarigbe as the winner of the by-election to produce a replacement for late Senator Rose Oko who died in March at a medical facility in the United Kingdom.Consequently, he urged the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the leadership of the National Judicial Council to commence an investigation of alleged irregularities in the appeal court judgement.
According to the group, three main irregularities were observed in the said judgement
Nwambu said: “In pursuant to Section 285 (13) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), an Election Tribunal or Court shall not declare any person a winner at an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all the stages of the election, thus rendering the order made on the 30th July, 2021 on INEC to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe who admitted before the trial tribunal that he was not given INEC Nomination forms and that his name was not forwarded by PDP (his political party) to INEC as its candidate.”
“Pursuant to Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2015 (as amended), an election tribunal shall not under any circumstances declare any person as a winner in an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all the stages of the said election.”
“Thus making the order of the Honourable Court made on 30th July 2021 on INEC to issue a certificate of return to Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe who admitted on oath not to have been nominated pursuant to section 32 (1) of the Electoral Act 2015 (as amended) for the bye-election of Cross River North Senatorial district held on the 5th December 2020 and his name not forwarded by his political party to INEC as its candidate is without jurisdiction and illegal.”
He also alleged that Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme who headed the three-man Appeal Court panel, which sat in Calabar last week was very hostile in court on the 30th of July, 2021.
“Her Lordship shouted down on all the counsels in court and allowed only the counsel to Hon. Jarigbe to address the court. This raises a lot of curiosity.
“If not for corruption, how could a Justice of the court of Appeal Jettison Section 285 (13) of the 1999 constitution (as amended)? How could a justice jettison Section 141 of the Electoral Act 2015 (as amended)?
“How could a Justice use a pre-election matter for which Senator Odey and even the PDP, (a party Hon. Jarigbe claimed to have won a primary election) not joined in the matter held in Abuja (a court without jurisdiction) to determine an election matter thus violating and contradicting the fundamental principles of elementary law.
“For the first time in the history of Nigeria, an election tribunal delivered a judgment in so much hurry. It commenced sitting on Tuesday and ruled on Friday. There were three appeals with all the processes, objections, motions, etc., with very voluminous documents. These documents were not read nor even opened,” he said.
The coalition, therefore, urged The National Judicial Council (NJC) to probe the Appeal Court panel over the controversial judgment which removed Senator Odey.