The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, on Wednesday sacked Mr. Alex Egbonna of the All Progressive Congress (APC) representing Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency of Cross River.
In nullifying Egbonna’s election, the tribunal also upheld the petition filed by Mr. John- Gaul Lebo, who contested for the constituency seat on the platform of the (PDP).
Lebo in his submission before the tribunal, cited issues of massive irregularities and Egbona’s ineligibility to contest in the election, arguing that Egbonna was not the rightful candidate of the APC.
Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Vincent Agbata while delivering judgment on the case, agreed with the petitioner that as at Feb. 23, 2019, Egbonna was not qualified to contest in the election of which he was eventually declared the winner.
The Judge further declared all the votes scored by Egbonna in the election as defiant votes, invalid and unlawful and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare Lebo, the candidate of the PDP who scored the highest number of valid votes in the election, as the winner and issued him a certificate of return.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to withdraw the certificate return earlier issued to Egbonna for the Tribunal rule to take effect.
Aniah Ikwen, the lead lawyer to Lebo who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the judgment, said they were happy with the judgment and would take steps to actualize it.
“The judgment said Alex should vacate and handover to John Gaul, but should he want to pursue the option of going on appeal, we will meet him at the Court of Appeal”,