Cross River North: Confusion Continues In PDP As Steve Odey Vows Not To Vacate His Senate Seat, Says Jarigbe Was Never A PDP Candidate
…Jarigbe Agom is accused of “forum shopping” and “intentionally misleading different courts.“
The political quagmire in Cross River North Senatorial District has taken a new turn, as Senator Stephen Odey Ph D, the current senator representing the region, has stated that he is at ease in his elected office.
According to Odey, Nigeria can only develop if there are men of integrity at the helm of affairs and institutions that are functioning properly, adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, erred in issuing a Certificate of Return to Jarigbe Agom, who represents the Ogoja/ Yala Federal Constituency in Cross River State in the Federal House of Representatives, based on hearsay and through a sham election.
Odey, who noted that the said Certificate of Return was obtained fraudulently, accused INEC of hastily granting Jarigbe Agom the document and, though he would not place blame on either the electoral Commission or the courts, said that the fault lies squarely with Agom, whom he accused of attempting to criminally deceive the two institutions in order to steal money.
He, on the other hand, requested an apology from INEC for the inconveniences he suffered as a result of the entire incident, which pitted him against Jarigbe Agom for the coveted Cross River North Senatorial seat.
The never-ending fight for the Senatorial seat’s soul erupted over the weekend, with Odey maintaining that he is the duly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the bye-election scheduled for December 5, 2020, following Senator Rose Oko’s death in March.
Senator Odey, who recalled that Agom was never a PDP nominee in the election, accused the lower chamber lawmaker of “forum shopping” and “deliberately misleading various courts that do not have jurisdiction in the matter to procure an order to unseat him and snatch the mandate freely granted to him by the citizens of Cross River North.”
Odey’s clarification was necessary in light of Jarigbe Agom’s counter-claim to the Senatorial seat, who is also a member of the PDP.
Following an Abuja Court of Appeal ruling that upheld an Abuja High Court ruling that he should be accorded the rights of a candidate in a case brought by one John Alaga against him, Jarigbe Agom is supporting his entitlements with a Certificate of Return provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to Odey, the resolve of the PDP’s rightful candidate was exhausted in two separate rulings in his favor in the Court of Appeal in Calabar before the party’s primary election, which he won and for which he was given a nomination form and INEC published his name as a candidate.
He expressed surprise that while the matter at the Court of Appeal in Calabar was being decided, following Jarigbe’s withdrawal, the latter (Jarigbe) approached the High Court in Abuja in connivance with one of his “boys,” one John Alaga, to obtain a deceptive ruling without joining him or the PDP in the suit.
Agom is also defending his claim to the Senate seat, citing a Supreme Court decision that, while specifically dismissing Odey’s appeal as improperly filed, did not explicitly state that Odey should vacate the seat for Jarigbe Agom.
As of now, no court decision has expressly sacked Odey from office, including the Supreme Court ruling that dismissed Odey’s appeal in a case he voluntarily entered.
However, INEC has given Jarigbe Agom with a Certificate of Return, which normally entitles him to the seat.
Source: Vanguard News
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