The election petition tribunal in Cross River state has significantly reduced the number of witnesses who will testify in support of Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe from 500 to 33. The petition, filed by former governor Ben Ayade, challenges the victory of Senator Jarigbe in the Cross River North Senatorial election zone.
The tribunal, chaired by Justice M. A. Sambo, with Justices C. Akabua and J. Zululu as members, had previously accepted the tendered exhibits from the respondents as evidence. These exhibits included certified true copies of results from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In response, Senator Jarigbe, represented by his legal team led by Mba Ukweni, SAN, also presented certified copies of the IREV and hard copies of Form EC8A1 (result sheets) to further substantiate and defend his electoral victory.
Addressing reporters after the sitting, Ukweni said: “We had over 500 witnesses, but the tribunal said we should call a maximum of 33 witnesses, but there are many people who are very anxious to testify.
“It took us time to persuade them. That [is why] many of them are not on the list, and they said they want to come and defend their mandate.”
Speaking further, he said: “There was no document they (petitioners) tendered to show that the result was rigged.
“What they were merely trying to do was tender declaration of the result, which is Form EC8E1.”
He explained that the petitioner was trying to show that the names of other candidates who lost were not on the declaration of results list.
Former Governor Ayade, the petitioner, represented by Mike Ozekhome, SAN.