All is now set for the Court of Appeal in Abuja to hear on Thursday, August 12, 2021 two contentious separate applications seeking a review of judgment of its Calabar division which declared an incumbent House of Representatives member, Agom Jarigbe as winner of the December 5, 2020 bye-election for Cross River North Senatorial District.

NEWSMEN observed on Tuesday that Jarigbe is hoping to be sworn in as a Senator representing Cross Rivers North Senatorial District on September 14, when the National Assembly resumes from its annual recess.

However, going by the Court of Appeal decision in Abuja, he will have to await the determination of two applications against his return by the Court of Appeal, Calabar division.

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NEWSMEN findings showed that a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, Calabar led by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, had on July 30, 2021, ordered the sack of the incumbent senator, Stephen Odey in a judgment on an appeal by a legal practitioner, Mr Joe Agi, SAN and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The panel while delivering judgment in a consolidated appeals challenging the decision of the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal delivered on June 18, 2021, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Agom Jarigbe, certificate of return which the appellate court held was wrongly withdrawn from him

The three appeals are; CA/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021, CA/C/NAEA/SEN/168/2021, and CA/C/NAEA/SEN/169/2021.

However, dissatisfied with the decision of the three-man panel which is the last court for National and States House of Assembly election matters, two aggrieved parties in the matter approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, for a review of the judgment.

In the first appeal with number CA/C/195/2021 filed on August 4, 2021, the appellants/applicants (Joe Agi and APC) are praying the court for an order to amend, correct and /or set aside the order of the court on INEC “to issue the certificate of return wrongly withdrawn from the 2nd respondent”, Agom Jarigbe.

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They are also praying for another order to set aside the order of the appellate court issued on July 30, which dismissed their appeal against the election of Odey for lacking in merit.

In the second appeal marked CA/C/199/2021, filed on August 6, 2021, the first respondent (Stephen Odey), is urging the appellate court to set aside its own judgment in the consolidated appeal, which allowed the appeal of Jarigbe in suit number CA/C/NAEA/SEN/169/2021, which declared Jarigbe as the winner of the bye-election for the Cross Rivers North Senatorial District of Cross Rivers state.

However, hearing in the two motions was on Tuesday, July 10. stalled due to claims by the second respondent that he has not been served with the court processes.

In a short ruling, Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya who led four other Justices of the Appellate Court ordered service of the court processes on the second respondents in court and subsequently fixed Thursday August 12, for definite hearing.

Other members of the five-man panel include; Justices Stephen Adah, Olabisi Ige, Abubakar Umar and Danlami Senchi.

NEWSMEN recalls that the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal presided over by Justice Yusuf Mohammad in a judgment had ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Jarigbe and issue same to Stephen Odey.

But the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Tribunal on the ground that it was wrong to order the withdrawal of the certificate of return earlier issued to Jarigbe.

As a result, it invalidated the certificate of return issued to Senator Stephen Odey by INEC and directed the electoral umpire to withdraw it.

The court, however, noted that there was no merit in the appeal marked CA/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021, (filed by Agi) as all the issues raised had been resolved against the appellants.

It added that although the three appeals were consolidated, the appeals marked CA/C/NAEA/SEN/167/2021 and CA/C/NAEA/SEN/168/2021 were dismissed accordingly.

The appellate court, however, allowed the appeal marked CA/C/NAEA/SEN/169/2021, and made no order as to cost.

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