By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Great Ogboru, against the election of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as Governor of Delta State.
A five-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Uzo Ndukwe-Anyanwu, reserved judgment to a date that would be communicated to parties shortly after counsel adopted and argued their brief of argument in the appeal.
Ogboru and his party, APC, are seeking to upturn the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which returned Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.
The appellants in a 37-ground 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 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.
However, in response to the appeal, Okowa and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged the Court of Appeal to dismiss Ogboru and APC’s appeal for being incompetent and unmeritorious.
In their brief of argument by Damien Dodo (SAN) and Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN) for Okowa and PDP respectively, the respondents submitted that the appellants failed to prove their allegations of over voting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
While the respondents claimed that they have led cogent, credible and reliable evidence to show that they won the governorship election held on March 9 in Delta State, they submitted that the appellants on the other hand failed to prove how their claims of over voting and non-compliance substantially affected the results of the election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Okowa and PDP winner of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State having garnered majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.
The decision however prompted the current court action.