…Says INEC Erred in the Issuance of Certificate, it must Apologise to Nigerians
…Accuses Jarigbe Agom of “forum shopping and deliberately misleading various courts
By Henry Umoru
THE Political quargmire in Cross River North Senatorial District has taken another twist as the current Senator representing the zone, Stephen Odey has said that he is comfortably seated in his office as the elected lawmaker.
According to Odey, Nigeria can only grow when we have men of integrity at the helm of affairs and Institutions working effectively, just as he said that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC erred for issuing a Certificate of return to Jarigbe Agom, representing Ogoja/ Yala Federal Constituency from Cross River State in the Federal House of Representatives on hearsay and through a Telephone call, saying that the electoral umpire must apologise to him and Nigerians.
Addressing Journalists in Abuja weekend, Odey who noted that the said Certificate of Return was obtained fraudulently, accused INEC of hastily granting Jarigbe Agom the document and even though he will not heap the blame on either the electoral Commission or the courts, said however that the fault lies squarely with Agom whom he accused of trying to criminally deceive the two Institutions to steal his mandate.
He however demanded an apology from INEC for the inconveniences caused him in the entire episode that pitched him with Jarigbe Agom for the coveted Cross River North Senatorial seat.
The unending battle for the soul of the Senatorial seat reared its head weekend when Odey is insisting that be remains the duly elected candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the bye-election held on the 5th of December, 2020 following the death of Senator Rose Oko in March.
Senator Odey who noted that Agom was never a candidate of PDP in the said election, however accused the lawmaker in the lower chamber of “forum shopping and deliberately misleading various courts that do not have jurisdiction in the matter to secure an order to unseat him and steal his mandate freely given to him by the people of Cross River North.
Odey’s clarification became imperative against the backdrop of counter claim by Jarigbe Agom, also a member of PDP to the Senatorial seat.
Jarigbe Agom is supporting his entitlements with a Certificate of Return issued him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), following an Abuja Court of Appeal ruling which upheld a Federal High Court ruling that he should be accorded the rights of a candidate in a case filed by one John Alaga against him.
According to Odey, the determination of the rightful candidate of the PDP was exhausted in two separate rulings in his favour in the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar before the PDP primary election which he won and was issued nomination form by the party with INEC publishing his name as candidate.
He said that he was surprised that while the matter at the Court of Appeal in Calabar was being determined, following the withdrawal of Jarigbe; the later(Jarigbe) in connivance with one of his “boys”, one John Alaga approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to obtain a deceitful ruling without joining neither him nor the PDP in the suit.
Agom is also sustaining his rights to the Senatorial seat with a Supreme Court ruling which although clearly struck out the appeal of Odey on grounds that it was not properly filed, but did not expressly state that Odey should vacate the office for Jarigbe Agom.
As it stands, there is no Court ruling anywhere including the Supreme Court ruling that struck out Odey’s appeal in a case he voluntarily joined that has explicitly sacked him from office.
There is however a Certificate of Return issued to Jarigbe Agom by INEC which ordinarily entitles him to the seat.