The Federal High Court sitting in Calabar Presided by Justice S.A. Amobeda has declared Dr. Stephen Odey as the rightful candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Cross River North Senatorial District Elections holding this weekend.
Justice Amobeda who gave the judgement in a suit filed by Dr. Stephen Odey against INEC and Hon Jarigbe Agom, in suit No FHC/CA/CS/87/20 on Thursday restrained the electoral empire and any other party to the case from doing anything that will adversely affect Odey’s candidature.
The Court laid down the long litigation to rest by upholding the name of Dr. Stephen Odey as the authentic candidate of the PDP in the December 5, 2020 elections with a mandate for the 1st respondent, INEC to recognize and publish the name of Stephen Odey as the authentic candidate of the PDP.
The Court also set aside the Exparte Order of the Port Harcourt Federal High Court granted on September 11.
This judgement of the Court has put to an end the question of who is the rightful candidate of the PDP in the December 5 elections.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will deploy relevant technology to ensure transparent, violence-free and fair election in Saturday’s Cross River North Senatorial and House of Assembly by-elections.
Mr Festus Okoye, INECs Commissioner for Information and Voter Education Committee said this on Wednesday in Calabar while speaking on the commission’s preparedness for the polls.
He said the successes recorded in Edo and Ondo elections were testimonies to the fact that the commission was improving by every election through the use of modern technology.
“We want to surpass our successes in Edo and Ondo.
“We are going to conduct a transparent, violence-free and credible election in Cross River North come Saturday.
“We are ready for the elections, the Card Readers have been purged, charged, and configured and will be deployed with other sensitive materials.
“INEC will also transmit Form ECA8A (1) (Unit Results) in real time using the Z-pad via INEC viewing results portal,” he said.
The commissioner urged the security agencies to brace up for the challenged by deploying adequate personnel to ensure a hitch-free exercise.
“It is common knowledge that some of the Local Government Areas have difficult terrain.
“We urge the security agencies to provide adequate and efficient security for election officials, election materials and the voters,” he said.
Okoye warned that, the Commission would not tolerate election violence in any form.
According to him, the commission will not declare any results “procured through violence and resistance to the deployment of Smart Card Readers”.
He said the commission had deployed two extra Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) from Edo and Benue including himself to assist the State REC in ensuring a successful exercise.
He also cautioned political parties and their candidates for the elections to seek legal and genuine redress if they found any INEC official doing the wrong thing.
“We will investigate such staff member and apply appropriate punishment if found wanting.
“But any petition without proper address and phone number or evidence from the petitioner will not be investigated,” he said.
In a related development, the Police Command in Cross River said over 1,500 personnel had been mobilised for the Saturday’s by-election.
The Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr Abdulkadir Jimoh, disclosed this to newsmen in Calabar.
“We will have adequate policemen in each of the polling units. We have 1,341 personnel on ground.
“Also, Seven Mobile Units are coming from different parts of the country to join 200 Mobile Units that we have on ground.
“Some officers are also coming from Abuja to add to the men on ground; so, the police are fully mobilised,” he said.
Jimoh, who was represented by the DCP in charge of operations, Mr Julius Alaliwari, said that the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security was collaborating to ensure a violence and crime free exercise.
Newsmen report that nine political parties are participating in the Senatorial election and Six are participating in the Obudu State Constituency election.
Cross River North comprised five local government areas, with 627 polling units and 189, 488 registered voters.