The Acting Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Maurice Odey Eneji, has constituted Local Government Election Tribunal in the three senatorial districts of the state.
While constituting the tribunal, the Acting Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Eneji, said that the tribunal will hear petitions arising after the March 28, 2020 local government election in the state.
He said that the decision was in line with the exercise of powers conferred on him by section 99 of the Cross River State Local Government Law, 2007 and all other powers enabling him.
Hon. Justice Eneji said that the tribunals will commence sitting in the Southern, Central and Northern Senatorial Zones of Calabar, Ikom and Ogoja to hear petitions presented after 2020 Local Government Election.
The Central Senatorial Zone Local Government Election Tribunal has Hon Justice Emmanuel Ubua as chairman, Chief Magistrate Rita Marshall as member and Chief Magistrate Eunice Dada as member.
Northern Senatorial Zone has Hon. Justice Imelda Etape as Chairman, Chief Magistrate V. Ebaye, member and Chief Magistrate I. I. Abam as member. The Southern Senatorial Zone, Hon. Justice Ashu Ewa, Chairman, Chief Magistrate Rajuno Bassey, member and Chief Magistrate Usang Omini, member.
The Tribunals are “To hear and determine any question as to whether any person has been validly elected under this law, or the term of office of any person has ceased, or the seat of a person in the Local Government Council has become vacant.”
In the same vein, the Acting Chief Judge Hon Justice Eneji has also appointed and constituted the Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal, 2020, in line with Section 104 of the Cross River State Local Government Law, 2007.
Similarly, “The Tribunal shall commence it’s sitting in Calabar after the 2020 Local Government Election as Soon as appeals against any decision of the Election Tribunal are presented before it” The Appeal Tribunal is headed by Hon. Justice M. Anjor as Chairman, Hon. Justice Bassey Ikpeme member and Barrister P. I. Obiem member.
Reacting to the constitution of the tribunal, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ntufam Mba Ukweni said, “Since he is acting Chief Judge, whether rightly or wrongly, he can perform the action of Chief Judge but he suppose to have done that thirty days before the elections.
“The time to do that had since elapsed, if you look at the provision of the local government law, alongside electoral Act. Electoral, Act specifies time when that should be done,” he stated.