By Frank Ulom
Barely one week after the declaration of Prince Bassey Otu as the Governor-elect of Cross River State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Sandy Onor who came second has said he will challenge the result in the court of justice.
Onor made this known in a statement on Sunday in Calabar, citing electoral malpractices and irregularities aided by the INEC and security agents.
In the statement, Onor acknowledged that in every contest there must be a winner and a loser but the contest must also be free, fair and credible.
“We are all aware that the said election was marred by a plethora of irregularities. The Independent National Electoral Commission was neither independent nor impartial.
“INEC officials aided by security personnel manipulated the system, altered results at various collation levels and frustrated the will of the majority of Cross Riverians.
“Indeed, the election of Saturday, March 18, 2023, was characterised by outright vote buying, intimidation of voters and violence, which regrettably led to the loss of lives.
“We express our heartfelt sympathies to the families of these heroes of democracy. We assure you that the perpetrators of this crime shall be brought to justice, if not by man, but by God.
“We have consulted with our legal and technical teams as well as stakeholders to review the entire electoral process and have come to the inescapable conclusion that we must seek legal redress.
“This is tailored to meet the yearnings and aspirations of a vast majority of Cross Riverians. We are confident that we will get justice”, Onor’s statement read in part.
He appealed to his supporters across the length and breadth of the state to remain calm while the legal processes take it course.
Recall that Prof. Teddy Charles Adias, INEC Collation Officer for March 18 Governorship Election in the Cross River State announced on Monday, March 20, 2023, announced that Otu polled a total of 258,619 votes to defeat his closest rival, Onor who scored 179, 636 votes.
Otu contested under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) while Onor contested under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).