The Court of Appeal, Calabar has upheld the victory of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State in the 2019 election.
The court went ahead to awarded N600,000 as punitive cost against the former Minister for Niger Delta, Usani Usani, who was challenging the candidacy of Ayade for the All Progressives Congress in the state. The Appeal Court held that Usani must pay to each of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Governor Benedict Ayade and the Peoples Democratic Party who were respondents in the petition.
Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Adzira Gana Mshelia said that Usani’s petition was an abuse of the court process.
“The preliminary objection of the 1st Respondent succeeded on the grounds that the Appellants’ Brief was filed out of time for which the appeal was liable to be dismissed for want of prosecution. I have further considered the appeal on the merit as though there was a valid competent Appellants’ Brief on which the appeal is prosecuted and I have resolved all the issues in favour of the Respondents.
“The concatenation is that the appeal on whatever score must be dismissed. The appeal is accordingly dismissed and the decision of the Tribunal delivered on 12th September 2019 is hereby affirmed. The Respondents are entitled to the cost of this appeal which I assess and fix at N200, 000 in favour of each of the 1st Respondent on one hand and the 2nd and 3rd Respondents on the other hand,” the judge said.