By Magnus Effiong, Calabar
The Appeal Court siting in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, has declared Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State for next year’s election.
Recall that Senator Owan-Enoh had challenged the judgment of the Federal High Court which had earlier upheld Senator Otu as APC candidate.
The Appeal Court judgment, delivered on Thursday, and read by Justice Elfreda Williams Daoodu on behalf of the 3-man panel of Judges, said the Appealant (Senator Owan Enoh) had sought two reliefs which were for the Court to set aside the lower court’s judgment and to determine whether or not the respondent (Senator Otu) was appropriately cleared to participate in the governorship primary.
She said Owan Enoh had argued that since the governorship primary screening and appeal screening committees of the party did not clear Senator Otu to take part in the governorship primaries, the National Working Committee (NWC) could not have cleared Sen Otu and did not issue any waiver.
Justice Daoodu, in the judgment, averred that the NWC of the party has powers to clear the respondent after he had presented original copies of his credentials which was the bone of contention.
“In our considered opinion, there was no breach of the first respondent’s (APC) Constitution by the NWC. Looking closely, one is unable to find any record of miscarriage of Justice by NWC. The NWC has powers to clear aspirants and even grant waivers.
“We hereby agree with the Judgement of the lower court as given by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu and hereby dismiss the appeal,” the said in part.
The other two members of the appeal panel, who also spoke, said the judgement was an unanimously decision of the Appeal Court and therefore dismised the suit for lacking merit.
In a chat with reporters, Barr Mike Ozekhome, lead counsel to Senator Otu hailed the judgement and described it as a milestone
Barr Utum Eteng, who spoke on behalf of Barr Ozekhome, said “this is a confirmation that there is no hurdle to Senator Bassey Otu becoming governor in 2023. I appeal to Senator Owan Enoh to give peace a chance.”
However, Senator Owan Enoh, through his counsel, Barr Jacob Abang Takim, has vowed to head to the Supreme Court over the judgement.