By Nsa Gill, Calabar

The Court of Appeal in Calabar has declared member representing Obudu/Yala Federal Constituency Hon. Jerigbe Jarigbe of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) as the duly elected Senator for Cross River North.

The Judgment by implication removes Senator Steven Odey, also of the PDP who was declared winner at the lower tribunal on June 18, 2021.

The three-man Appeal Tribunal headed by Hon. Justice Chioma I. Nwosu accepted the argument that Jarigbe was the lawful candidate of the PPD in the December 5, 2020 by-election for the seat.

It invalidated the Certificate of Return issued to Steven Odey by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Court, in the consolidated suit No CAL/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021, ruled the lower tribunal erred when it ignored Judgments of superior courts that earlier resolved Jarigbe as the rightful candidate of the PDP.

Thel Judges said: “It is our humble and firm view that the issue calls for consideration whether the tribunal was right to jettison the decision of the High Court, Appeal Court and Supreme Court and declare the 1st Respondent (Odey) as validly elected.

“The tribunal is bound by the decisions of Superior Courts on the same issue.”…

“The law does not allow the tribunal to take a different position as the law has already affirmed that Hon. Jarigbe is the lawful candidate of the PDP”.

They maintained they are bound by the decisions of previous courts and returned Jarigbe as the Senator Elect for Cross River North.

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They frowned the PDP conducted the primaries that nominated Odey in contempt of court, which directed that only authentic list of delegates should be use.

INEC was ordered to issue a Certificate of Return to Jarigbe and that of Odey be withdrawn.

“Two certificates of return cannot exist in the eye of the law.

“The judgment of the election tribunal is hereby set aside,” the judges said.

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