The re-election of Ben Ayade as the Governor of Cross River State has been reaffirmed by the Court of Appeal.
The tribunal had in an earlier ruling held that he was duly elected as the state governor during the 2019 general elections.
The appellant court not only reaffirmed the ruling of the tribunal but also ordered his petitioner, a former Minister for Niger Delta, Usani Usani, to pay the governor, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), N200 , 000 each as punitive cost.
The three of them were the respondents in the appeal number CA/C/NAEA/GOV/414/2019 filed by Usani.
Usain had claimed he was the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the election.
But the five-man panel of the Appeal Court presided over by Justice Adzira Gana Mshelia, in a unanimous judgement, said that Usani’s appeal was a gross abuse of court processes, academic and hypothetical.
According to the panel, Usani was not the governorship candidate of APC on March 9, 2019 election and that he was at best a meddlesome interloper.
“The preliminary objection of the 1st Respondent succeeded on the grounds that the Appellants’ Brief was filed out of time for which the appeal was liable to be dismissed for want of prosecution. I have further considered the appeal on the merit as though there was a valid competent Appellants’ Brief on which the appeal is prosecuted and I have resolved all the issues in favour of the Respondents.
“The concatenation is that the appeal on whatever score must be dismissed. The appeal is accordingly dismissed and the decision of the Tribunal delivered on 12th September 2019 is hereby affirmed. The Respondents are entitled to the cost of this appeal which I assess and fix at N200, 000 in favour of each of the 1st Respondent on one hand and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents on the other hand,” the panel held.
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