Appeal Court Dismisses Ogboru’s Appeal, Upholds Okowa’s Election

Ifeanyi OkowaThe Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by the Labour Party’s candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, challenging the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the election of Ifeanyi Okowa as Governor of Delta State.

In a unanimous judgment by the five-man bench presided over by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji on Thursday, the appellate court held that the appeal lacked merit and that the tribunal was right to have dismissed Ogboru’s petition.

Ogboru had alleged that there was over-voting as the number of total votes recorded far exceeded the number of voters accredited by the card reader machines.

He further alleged that the conduct of the poll did not substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and urged the tribunal to nullify the April 11, 2015 poll and order a rerun.

But in a judgment delivered on October 26, 2015 in Asaba, the Delta State capital, the tribunal dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

Ogboru further appealed to the Court of Appeal, which heard the case in Benin on December 17 but relocated to Abuja to deliver its judgment on Thursday.

In the lead judgment read by Justice Abba-Aji, the Court of Appeal held that Ogboru merely relied on records of the card reader accreditation without demonstrating the documents by credible evidence.

The court held that the LP candidate never challenged the evidence of the respondents and even his own witnesses that the card readers had challenges in many part of the state and that apart from the use of card reader, there was also manual accreditation.

Justice Abba-Aji pointed out that the appellant needed to have proved that the card reader machines functioned optimally in all the polling units of the state before he could solely depend on the accreditation by‎ the card reader.

Meanwhile the judgment of the court in the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Olorogun O’ tega Emerhor; and the cross appeal by Okowa, are still being awaited.