By evangelist.com.ng, edition, Wednesday July 11, 2023.
The People’s Democratic Party candidate at the last governorship elections in Cross River State, Professor Sandy Onor, has closed his case in his petition against the election of the Senator Bassey Otu.
Professor Onor, who was represented by his counsel, Dr. Joshua Yusuf, SAN, closed his case after calling four witnesses including a London based-mmigration expert, Olusegun Thompson.
Speaking at the end of the tribunals sitting, Yusuf said their decision to close their case is about strategy as it is a faster and better route for his team.
In his words, “So far we called four witnesses two yesterday and two additional witnesses today for the petitioners and closed our case today.
“Our case is essentially on the qualification of the governor and the deputy governor.
“It’s all about strategy, we met and discovered that we should adopt this strategy as it is better and faster route for us and we are hopeful”, he said.
On his part, counsel for the respondents, Otu and others, Kimasuade Edun, SAN, who held brief for the lead counsel Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said the petitioners have ten days to call their witnesses but since they have decided to close their case, they need some time also to gather their witnesses.
During the days proceeding, the petitioners presented more documents to the tribunal to prove their case.
These include the British Nationality Act 1981, Citizenship Oath/Pledge, Home Office Form AN4 – Application for Naturalization as a British Citizen and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002.
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One of the supoboned witness of the petitioners, Olusegun Thompson, an expert in Immigration Law, gave an expert opinion on the British Citizenship of the third respondent which he adopted on oath.
During Cross examination by counsel for INEC, K.O.Balogun, he said under Section 42(2) of the British Naturalization Act, every qualified applicant must take the Oath of allegiance before his certificate of British Citizenship is issued.
He said the third respondent, Hon Peter Odey, already said he has a waiver from taking the Oath through his Form EC9 but to his knowledge nobody has ever been granted that waiver.
On his part, the fourth witness for the petitioners, Ikpi Ubana the state legal adviser of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the third respondent is still in the PDP and has not tendered any resignation.
He added that the third respondent did not file any application for exemption from signing the Oath of Allegiance.
He said immediately you subscribe to the British Citizenship, you swear to an oath of allegiance but the third respondent has neither presented nor explained if he had a waiver.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Oken Inneh, subsequently fixed July 17 -20 2023 for the respondents to open and close its case.
Onor is in Court challenging the declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Sen. Bassey Otu, as the winner of the Governorship election held in March 18, 2023.