The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Cross River State on Thursday affirmed the victory Governor Ben Ayade the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state. Reading the judgment, the Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Josiah Majebi dismissed all the pleas of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Senator John Owan-Enoh, saying the petition number EPT/CAL/GOV/01/2019 was a pre-election matter and the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
“The petition failed and is accordingly dismissed. We hereby find that Prof Ben Ayade is duly elected as Governor of Cross River State in the March 9, 2019 governorship election,” Justice Majebi said after dismissing all the prayers of the petitioner. Senator Owan-Enoh had asked the tribunal to among others, declare that he was unlawfully excluded from the election and that he was validly nominated by his party to contest the election and that the declaration of Governor Ayade as the winner of the election was wrongful and wants the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election.
Justice Majebi said the petitioner “failed to establish the burden of proof that he was excluded from contesting the governorship election,” adding that the petitioner contested and scored some votes in the election and so he could not have been excluded, saying such grounds were “irreconcilable and diametrically opposed to each other.”
Reacting, Governor Ben Ayade dedicated his victory at the tribunal to God and the people of Cross River State. He described the tribunal judgement as a mere reaffirmation of his resounding victory at the March 9, 2019 governorship poll.