Prince Bassey Otu has been declared the authentic governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Cross River State ahead of the 2023 general election.
Prince Otu was declared the APC candidate by the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State capital on Monday, October 24, 2022.
The declaration was made by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu while delivering judgment in the suit filed by one of the aspirants, Senator John Owan-Enoh.
CONVERSEER reports that Sen. Owan-Enoh had in a suit approached the court seeking to disqualify Senator Bassey Otu as the governorship candidate of the APC.
Justice Ojukwu in her ruling said: “that a candidate contesting for a position of the governor must be a Nigerian, meet the stipulated age requirement and have basic qualification according to the constitution”.
She said the matter of determination of the governorship candidate of a political party is and still remains the right of a political party.
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Ojukwu also held that the plaintiff failed to justify his case as he did not provide “cogent and palpable evidence” to run contrary to the averments of the first defendant who insisted that the third defendant was adequately cleared and that the issue of nomination was an internal party affair.
One of the issues for determination was whether the third defendant met the constitutional requirements to contest the position of Governor. And, Justice Ojukwu who cited the provisions of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as altered, and Section 29 subsection 5 of the Electoral Act 2022, as amended, held that the plaintiff failed to supply documents that would have invalidated what was filed by the first and third defendants.
On whether Prince Otu was properly cleared, Justice Ojukwu held that the party’s National Working Committee had done that and since there was no reversal of the party’s decision before the Court, it will be deemed that he was properly cleared to contest.
Furthermore, Justice Ojukwu held that the logic behind the screening committee not clearing Senator Otu who presented higher certificates for the flimsy excuse of failing to include his First School Leaving Certificate was incomprehensible and said this was corrected by the National Working Committee of the party.
This has put to rest months of speculations and division in the Cross River APC as the Party prepares for the 2023 campaigns.
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