From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal has upheld the election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate, Senator Eteng Jonas Williams.
The tribunal headed by Justice O. A. Adeniyi said Senator Eteng won the February 25, 2023 general elections after recomputing the scores of the elections.
INEC had declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Eteng Jonas Williams as the winner of February 25 central senational district election.
But not satisfied with the outcome, Rt. Hon. Bassey Ewah of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and approached the Tribunal with six reliefs.
Bassey Ewa through his counsel, Mba Ukweni, SAN in suit number EPT/CR/SEN/01/2023 sought a declaration that the Ist respondent (Eteng Williams) did not score majority of lawful votes and thus not duly elected and returned.
He also sought relief from the court cancelling votes of all the parties in about 96 polling units spread across the central senatorial district where there was clear evidence of over voting.
He sought a re-computation of votes in the ventral senatorial district and declaration of the first petitioner as winner of the election.
He also sought an order withdrawing the certificate of return issued by INEC and issuing the first petitioner winner of the election.
However, in a three hour judgment, Justice O. A. Adeniyi said the petitioner was able to establish cases of over-voting in only 49 polling units in the central senatorial district out of the 96 it claimed.
The tribunal said that whereas the BIVAS recorded 0 votes for accreditation in the affected areas, the third respondent (INEC) went ahead to allot votes to the candidates.
He gave an order cancelling votes in the affected areas and also recomputed votes for the elections.
The affected areas were fourteen polling units in Abi LGA where 1,275 votes were deducted from the APC and 728 from the PDP.
In Abi, the tribunal voided vote in nine polling units as well as 815 from the APC and 419 from the PDP.
IN Etung LGA, the tribunal voided votes in four poling units comprising 137 from the APC and 48 from the PDP.
In Ikom LGA, the tribunal voided votes in three polling units as well as 88 from the APC and 81 from the PDP.
For Obubra, votes from nine polling units were voided comprising 600 from the APC and 418 from the PDP.
Similarly, in Yakurr LGA, results from 10 polling units were voided comprising 954 from the APC and 362 from the PDP.
In all the 49 affected polling units, the APC lost 3, 969 votes while the PDP lost 2, 066 votes.
The recomputed results showed that the APC retained its victory by garnering 53, 375 votes while the PDP retained it’s runner’s up position with 51, 387 votes.
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