By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
The Calabar division of the Court of Appeal on Saturday asked the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ntufam Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor to pay N500,000 as fine for filing a suit against the Cross River State All Prohressives Congress, APC, deputy governorship candidate, Rt. Hon Peter Odey.
The fine was a fall out of the judgment delivered by the court in a suit seeking to disqualify the deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Odey.
The PDP, in suit number CA/C/392/2022, alleged that the APC deputy governorship candidate, Odey, remains a member of the PDP, as well as having dual citizenship.
But Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, while deliverying judgment in a unanimous decision, stated that the appeal is adjudged a failure as it is not justiceable.
Justice Omoleye said, “The appeal is adjudged a failure and is hereby dismissed accordingly.
“The action of the appellants is not justiceable and the action filed at the trial court in suit number FHC/CA/CD/142/2022, is hereby struck out for lack of jurisdiction.
“A N500,000 cost is to be paid in favour of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents jointly and severally.”
Omoleye stated that the challenge relates to the internal affairs of another party, which the court has no jurisdiction over, stressing that the court will not dabble into the membership of a political party, because it is internal to the party and not open to the court to inquire.
The judge further maintained that the court has no jurisdiction and the trial court was very clear and it’s standing cannot be faulted, stressing that the two other judges, Justices Raphael Agbo and Balkisu Bello, participated in the conference leading to the judgment and they all dismissed the appeal.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the judgement was delivered, the respondents counsel, Mike Igbanoi, who spoke on behalf of Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN, stressed that the judgment passed was a very sound one; adding that it was unanimous.
He further stressed that all the issues were resolved in favour of the APC and the governorship candidate and his deputy.
Igbanoi insisted that it is noteworthy that the court made a very sound pronouncement concerning the cost adding that the judgment was very instructive and a message sent out to discourage people from filing frivolous appeals.
Also speaking, the appellant’s counsel, First Baba Isa, stated that by law the deputy governorship candidate of the APC should have resigned, but, unfortunately he didn’t, adding that there is a difference between resigning and defecting.