Appeal Court Affirms Okowa’s Election, Dismisses Ogboru’s Petition

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, Friday, affirmed the election of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.

The Justice Uzo Ndukwe-Anyanwu led five-man panel held that the appellants failed to prove the allegations of over voting, malpractices and violations of Electoral Act against Okowa.

The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta state, Great Ogboru and his party, had sought to unseat Governor Okowa, through their petition.

The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier dismssed Ogboru’s petition.

Not satisfied, Igboru and his party had appealed the judgment.

However, the Appeal Court in a unanimous decision, Friday, dismissed Ogboru and APC’s appeal for being incompetent and unmeritorious.

The Appeal Court held that the appellate court cannot set aside the decision of a lower court, unless, such decision is perverse, adding in the instance case, the decision of the lower tribunal is not perversed.

The panel of justices also agreed with the tribunal that the failure of the appellants to call polling agents from all the 896 polling units across all the local government areas of the state to prove their allegations was fatal to their case.

“in conclusion, this court find no merit in the appeal, the appeal failed and the decision of the lower tribunal is hereby affirmed”, the court held in the unanimous judgment.

Governor Okowa, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were the respondents in the appeal.

INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winner of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, haven scored majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.

But the appellants, in a 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their appeal for lacking in merit.

The three man panel of the governorship election panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the return of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices claimed in their petition.

However in the appeal against the the decision of the tribunal, Ogboru and APC argued that the lower court erred in law when it relied on the issue of over voting instead of allocation of votes as canvassed in their petition to dismiss their petition.

The petitioners, in urging the court to nullify Okowa’s election claimed that in some polling units, the total number of votes cast at the election exceeded the total number of voters who were accredited to vote, adding that there was non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in relation to accreditation of voters.

Author: NewsAdmin

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