By Musa Baba Adamu
The Cross River election tribunal sitting in Calabar over the petition from Ben Ayade, the former governor of the state who is challenging the winner of the Cross River North senatorial election, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, has cut down the number of witnesses ready to testify in favour of the winner from 500 to 33.
The tribunal, which has Justice M. A. Sambo as chairman and justices C. Akabua and J. Zululu as members, had earlier admitted the tendered exhibits from the respondents as evidence. These included certified true copies of results from INEC.
Jarigbe, represented by his legal team, headed by Mba Ukweni, SAN, also tendered certified copies of IREV and hard copies of Form EC8A1 (result sheets) to further defend his victory.
Addressing reporters after the sitting, Ukweni said: “We had over 500 witnesses, but the tribunal said we should call a maximum of 33 witnesses, but there are many people who are very anxious to testify.
“It took us time to persuade them. That [is why] many of them are not on the list, and they said they want to come and defend their mandate.”
Speaking further, he said: “There was no document they (petitioners) tendered to show
that the result was rigged. What they were merely trying to do was tender declaration of the result, which is Form EC8E1.”
He explained that the petitioner was trying to show that the names of other candidates who lost were not on the declaration of results list.
Former Governor Ayade, the petitioner, represented by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, had presented witnesses and tendered some documents too.