OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives member representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency (APC, Cross River), Mr. Alex Egbona whose election was on Wednesday annulled has alluded to compromise on the part of the Election Petition Tribunal.
Mr. Egbona also described the judgment of the tribunal which sat in Calabar as fraudulent, saying his constituents had been thrown into mourning by the development.
The lawmaker made the accusations on Thursday during a telephone interview with OrderPaperNG wherein he stressed that he would appeal the tribunal decision.
Mr. John Gaul-Lebo, immediate past Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had filed a suit at the tribunal challenging Egbona’s victory in the February 23, 2019 House of Representatives election on the ground of “massive irregularities.”
Justice Agbata who presided while delivering judgment ruled that the candidate of the PDP, John Gaul-Lebo, “scored the highest number of valid votes in the election and so, the certificate of return erroneously issued to Egbona should be withdrawn forthwith and issued to John Gaul-Lebo.”
Reacting to the judgement, Mr. Egbona expressed disappointment over the timing of the ruling and further described it as fraudulent and untrue. He insisted he scored the highest number of valid as votes constitutionally required to win the said election.
He said: “It is unfortunate because I don’t know from which angle the election was annulled but we did our best and I was the only APC person who won the election clearly in Cross River as declared by Independent National Electoral Commission.
“However, the tribunal in their own wisdom annulled that election. It was uncalled for; it was fraudulent and I learnt that they were heavily paid. Though, I cannot substantiate it but I was informed they were heavily paid and mind you my judgment was passed in the night.
“My case was scheduled to come up after that of the State Assembly cases but later it was moved to number ten and they ended up delivering judgment in the night. I can tell you that everyone in my constituency and Cross River is crying over this judgment because I’m loved by my people and I won my election”.
Speaking on his next step, he vowed to reclaim his mandate through the court.
“There’s a saying that whoever laughs last laughs best; so therefore I can assure you I’m going to appeal that judgment and I will reclaim my mandate.”