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The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, day before yesterday, dismissed the petition by Sen. John Owan-Enoh of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for lack of jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that the petition was incompetent.

Enoh had approached the tribunal to annul the March 9 gubernatorial election, citing unlawful exclusion of his name from the ballot paper by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

He had argued that he was validly elected during his party’s primaries and his name duly submitted to INEC prior to the 2019 gubernatorial election, adding that the certificate of return issued to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, be withdrawn and a fresh election conducted.

Delivering judgment, the three man tribunal headed by Justice Josiah Majebi held that the petition of wrongful exclusion by Owan-Enoh was a pre-election matter and so, should be heard in a state or Federal high court not a tribunal.

Majebi said that the tribunal lacked the power to adjudicate on any matter that is a pre election matter hence the tribunal’s lack of jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He however, declared the candidate of the PDP, Prof. Ben Ayade duly elected as the governor of Cross River State for having the highest number of valid votes in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Reacting to the judgment, Governor Ayade dedicated his victory at the tribunal to God and the people of Cross River State.

Ayade described the tribunal judgment as a mere reaffirmation of his victory at the March 9, 2019 governorship poll.

The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, said, “As I did when I won the governorship election of March 9, by dedicating my victory to God, the great people of Cross River State and the PDP family, let me once again rededicate today’s (yesterday) tribunal verdict which explicitly reinforced the will of the people to them.

“I had no doubt that I would emerge victorious at the tribunal. I have never lost faith or confidence in our judicial system.

“I was very confident that the tribunal would be diligent and upright in determining the petitions brought before it and it did just that today and I am happy, Cross Riverians are happy and I am sure that even the petitioners will be happy that the tribunal has acquitted itself.

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