C’River North Senatorial By-election: The Journey From Sept 5, 2020 Till Date

By Ebriku John Friday

They started the falsehood from day one…
He lost a primary he keenly contested. He was actually disqualified but a Federal High Court PortHarcourt cleared him to contest. Sensing defeat. He pulled out midway shamefully to a hotel to announce himself with a concocted result that can never stand the test of time. His primary result failed the integrity test of PDP. The party rejected it and endorsed the authentic result that announced Senator Stephen Odey Ph D as a winner of September 5, 2020 Senatorial Primaries in Ogoja.

Senator Stephen Odey

The party handed Odey the only nomination form available from INEC, he filled it and the PDP forwarded the name of their validly elected candidate of the party.

Then he (Hon Jarigbe) ran to vacation court in PortHarcourt to obtain an injunction stopping INEC from publishing the name of PDP candidate, INEC obeyed and refused to published the name of Dr Stephen Odey. Meanwhil, he refused to join Odey in the suit. Odey applied to be joined and Odey also got an order from Federal High Court Calabar mandating INEC to publish his name as the candidate of the PDP and the electoral umpire obeyed and published the name of Dr Odey as the duly elected candidate of the PDP for the Cross River North Senatorial By-election of December 5, 2020. When his matter was transferred to Calabar Federal High Court, where it has Territorial jurisdiction, the both cases were consolidated and judgement was delivered on December 3, 2020, where Dr Odey was declared by the Federal High Court Calabar as the authentic candidate of the PDP for the December 5, 2020 rescheduled By-election.

Then on December 4, 2020 Hon Jari proceeded to Appeal Court on the matter. While he headed to appeal, he also made public a judgement he purportedly procured from an Abuja High Court, since November 4, 2020, where the judge that was said to have heard the matter, Justice Binta Mohammed, in her judgment declined jurisdiction, but made some consequential order, that Jari is the winner of the PDP CRNorth Senatorial Primaries and should be given all rights. In this matter, PDP as a party was not joined, Dr Stephen Odey was not joined. One John Alaga said to be his boy as claimant sued Hon Jarigbe, that the honorable gave false information on the nomination form he filled and sent to INEC. The questions begging for answers here are, which nomination form, where is the nomination form, who gave him the nomination form? Alaga not satisfied with the High Court judgement appealed. And then the Appeal Court Justice also made a fundamental statement on the person and character of the said John Alaga but okayed the prayers as granted by the trial Court. It is another procured judgement. At this point Jarigbe went to the Appeal Court in Calabar to withdraw the main matter he filed from Federal High Court Port Harcourt which was sent back to Federal High Court Calabar, the court then dismissed the case and upheld the Federal High Court Judgement that declared Senator Stephen Odey as the candidate of the PDP for the December 5, 2020 CRNorth Senatorial By-election.

Senator Stephen Odey, then carrier out his campaign and fully partook in all the electioneering processes towards the Senatorial By-election. The said Cross River North Senatorial By-election was held on December 5, 2020 and Odey was declared winner on December 6, 2020 by the INEC Returning Officer, Professor Akor, after polling over 120 thousand votes to defeat his closest rival who scored just over 19,000 votes.

And graciously on December 9, 2020, the INEC issued an authentic Certificate of Return (CoR) to the Senator-elect, Dr Stephen Odey and to the glory of God, he was sworn in by the Clerk of the Senate and the Senate President in a historic manner, viewed worldwide on National Television and on the various social media handles of the Nigerian Senate on December 16, 2020.

In a bid to expose their foolery and falsehood and to block any chance of their evil antics to secretly proceeded to the Supreme and obtain a consequential order, Senator Stephen Odey’s request to be joined was granted and he proceeded to the Supreme Court. And on February 25, 2021, the Supreme Court in a split Judgement of 4-3 struck out the appeal based on preliminary objection of what it called improper service, this is despite the fact that the Supreme Court had granted earlier granted an order for substituted means of service to the respondents. By the judgement of the Supreme Court justices they have said they didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the appeal and therefore didn’t give any consequential order. It did not ask Senator Stephen Odey to vacate his seat as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It did not ask the Senate President to Swear in Jarigbe as Senator. It simply struck out the case and it ends there.

Senator Odey remains the validly winner of the September 5, 2020 PDP Primaries as declared by the Appeal Court in Calabar, winner of the said By-election of December 5, 2020 and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria representing the good people of Cross River North.

Supporters of the Senator should remain calm, fervent in prayers and unwavering in their support as the senator continues to give quality representation and change the narrative of leadership.

The Senator remains unruffled and unperturbed as nothing whatsoever and nobody can remove him. He is defending his mandate given to him by the people of Cross River North at the Senatorial Election Tribunal Sitting in Calabar. And by the grace of God he will win the matter at all levels.

And it is so far, so excellent in the Senate as he has sponsored two bills and a motion. One of the bill has already passed second reading in the Senate. His performance going forward will set new benchmark for legislative performance in the years to come. He has also sent the names of over 384 constituents, who have been verified to benefit from the Federal Government Survival Fund.

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