Thursday, 17 December 2015

Appeal Court reserves judgment in Delta gov election suit

The Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State has reserved judgment in the appeal challenging the ruling of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Asaba, which upheld the declaration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the People’s Democratic Party as winner of the April 11 governorship poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Not satisfied with the decision of the October 26 ruling of the tribunal in Asaba, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, O’tega Emerhor, and the All Progressives Congress had through their counsel, Chief Thompson Okpoko SAN, approached the Appeal Court to set aside the tribunal’s judgment and order a rerun election in the state.
The appellants, in the 11-gound appeal, averred that, “the learned Justices erred in law when they failed to nullify the election due to substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act, INEC guidelines and over voting in 61 per cent of the polling units in the state.”
The appellants also alleged a resort to manual accreditation, instead of the mandatory use of the card readers.
Okpoko, while adopting and relying on his written addresses, contended that the lower tribunal chose to ignore the preponderance of evidence before the court and urged the Appeal Court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower tribunal and annulled the election as required by law.
He also sought the outright dismissal of the cross appeal of the respondents as lacking in merit.
The counsels to first respondent (Okowa), Alex Iziyon, SAN; second respondent (PDP), Timothy Kehinde, SAN; and third respondent (INEC), Damian Dodo, SAN, urged the court to dismiss the appeal with substantial cost against the petitioners, arguing that it lacked merit.
But the Chairman of the five-man panel of Appeal Court judges, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, who reserved judgment on Wednesday, following the adoption of written addresses by counsels to the respective parties, said that the parties in the suit would be informed of date of the judgment, while assuring them that justice would be served on the matter.
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