Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Chief Great Ogboru

By Ovie Okpare

The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday affirmed the re-election of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the Delta State, was headed by Justice Suleiman Belgore. The tribunal panel had two other members.

Chief Great Ogboru and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had approached the tribunal to nullify the election, citing over voting, failure to adhere the electoral guidelines among other reasons.

ALSO READ: Tribunal Dismisses Ogboru’s Petition Against Gov. Okowa, Says APC Candidate Is An ‘Opportunistic And Gold Digger’

The APC candidate further told the tribunal the petition marked EPT/DT/GOV/01/2019 that Governor Okowa did not score valid votes in the election to be declared winner by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He also told the court that there were over voting and multiple voting in 896 polling units across 23 our 25 local government areas of the state.

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However, the tribunal while ruling on the petition, made this six major decisions:

1. But in a unanimous judgement, chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Belgore dismissed Ogboru’s petition for failing to prove the allegations of voting without accreditation, illegal allocation of unlawful votes and multiple voting.

2. The tribunal also held that Ogboru’s petition lacks specifics in its insufficient pleadings, adding further that the petition was bereft of details.

According to it, “There is gross insufficiency of pleadings in this case. The paragraphs are too generic without specifics. What the petitioners did was to lump all the polling units being disputed together

3. “Having faulted the petition, the petitioners failed to prove that the first respondent was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes at the election, and we so hold.

4. “It is incorrect to contend that the first respondent did not win the election by a majority of lawful votes. It is crystal clear that he scored a total of 925,274 votes as against 215,938 votes scored by the first petitioner.

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5. “We find the declaration and return as shown in exhibits tendered satisfied the provision of section 25 and 69 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.

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6. “We have no reason to upturn that declaration. This petition is gold digging, opportunistic, it failed and it is hereby dismissed,” the tribunal held.

However, counsel to the petitioners (Ogboru and APC), Nichols Icheko while thanking the tribunal for the judgment, said the judgement would tested at the appeal court.

Also responding to the judgement,  counsels to the first and second respondents, D.D. Dodo (SAN) and A.T. Kehinde respectively described the judgment as well researched, adding that it will further enrich the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.


1 COMMENT

  1. This another cash and carry judgment. Even the judges that presided over 2011 Delta State Governorship Re-run petitions of Uduaghan vs Ogboru though gave victory to Uduaghan which is not to be did it with wisdom by hiding their intentions. They cancelled some of the disputed Local Governments Area results and did their own mathematics by adding up to favour Uduaghan and the vote count difference between Uduaghan and Ogboru was not up to sixteen thousand. The Belgore family has been known for judicial corruption and rape of justices. When I read that one of the Belgore is to be chairman of the three man panel of Governorships election tribunal for Delta State I knew nothing good will come out of it. See the six reason they gave in dismissing Ogboru petition. A petition loaded with documents presented to the tribunal and witnesses to prove that the Election was a sham was not only dropped by the tribunal like that, the arbiter or umpires went further playing the role of a defending attorneys to the respondents. I never expected favourable judgment for Ogboru from this three man tribunal panel. Who is James Ibori to Dr. Saraki, are they not buddies, and who are the Belgores’ to the Sarakis’ are they not kinsmen from Ilorin. Why did you think the former disgraced Senator will not undo APC With friend Ibori political dynasty at stake. Why should they keep on hold the judgment for such a length of time since August 12th, if they truly believe Ogboru has no case. They were busy negotiating their money and where and how to hide it. My observation is that the ruling APC is too weak, what is happening in the south south states cannot happen if PDP is the ruling party and the south south states governors are APC, the PDP ruling party will use all means to wrest power from them. My advice Ogboru must not stop there. Let
    him appeal the judgement and even if it will get to the nation supreme court if appeal denied him of justice.

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