Supreme Court affirms Ayade’s election as governor of Cross River

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Cross river Governor Ben Ayade

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Professor Ben Ayade as the governor of Cross River State. The election of Ayade, a candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was challenged by Joe Agi, also of PDP, on the ground of alleged falsification of age.

Agi had dragged Ayade to the Federal High Court claiming among other reliefs that Ayade was parading conflicting age declarations, stressing that by the constitution of the party the respondent was not qualified to be governorship candidate. Agi therefore prayed that having come second in the primaries; he should be declared the candidate of the party.

On July 31, 2015, Justice Abdul Kafarati, ruling on the Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/25/2015 between Agi, SAN v. PDP and two orders, dismissed the case on grounds that the matter was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. That judgment was also upheld by three Court of Appeal Judges led by Justice Tinuade Akomolefe in subsequent judgments.

But still not satisfied with the lower courts’ judgments, Agi took the matter to the Supreme Court. Through his lawyers, Agi argued that “the decision of the lower court upholding the preliminary objections of the 1st (PDP) and 3rd (Ayade) Respondents only dealt with the one ground of the Appellant’s case without considering the ground of the Appellant’s case bordering on presentation of conflicting age(s) declaration by the 3rd Respondent to the 1st Respondent, contrary to Article 14 (b) and 15 (2) of the Electoral Guidelines for the Primary Elections 2014 of the Peoples Democratic Party (Exhibit JA5) and the Electoral Act”.

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