The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by the Labour Party’s governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, challenging the judgment of the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s election.
In a unanimous judgment by the five-man bench presided over by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji on Thursday, the appeal court held that the appeal lacked merit and that the tribunal was right to have dismissed Ogboru’s petition.
Ogboru filed his petition before the tribunal challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of Okowa of the PDP as winner of the poll.
The LP’s candidate alleged that there was overvoting as the number of total votes recorded exceeded the number of voters accredited by the card reader machines.
Also alleging that the conduct of the poll did not substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, Ogboru urged the tribunal to nullify the April 11, 2015 poll and order a rerun.
But the tribunal sitting in Asaba, in its judgment delivered on October 26, 2015, 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, has now dismissed the appeal.
Justice Abba-Aji in the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal held that Ogboru merely relied on records of the card reader accreditation without demonstrating the documents by credible evidence.
She held that Ogboru never challenged the evidence of the respondents and even his own witnesses that the card readers had challenges in many part of the states and that apart from the use of card reader, there was also manual accreditation.
She held 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 rely on the accreditation by the card reader.
Meanwhile the judgment of the tribunal on the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Olorogun O’ tega Emerhor; and the cross appeal by Okowa are still being awaited.