Appeal Court panel rules today in Abuja on Delta guber polls
ALL is set today for the ruling of the appeal court panel sitting on the Delta State Governorship Election Petition which has reportedly been moved from Benin City to Abuja.
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, reportedly ordered the relocation with no reason for the decision
The panel had on December 17 in the Edo State capital concluded hearing in an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Olorogun O’ tega Emerhor. The appellants are asking the panel to upturn the verdict of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld the election of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Also dissatisfied with the decision of the Justice Nasiru.U. Gummi led Governorship Election Tribunal in Asaba, Delta State, in refusing to set aside judgment and grant the reliefs he sought, the Labour Party (LP) candidate in April 11, 2015, polls, Chief Great Ogboru, and his party had approached the Court of Appeal in Benin City.
The tribunal on October 26, 2015 upheld Okowa’s election. However Ogboru and his party is challenging the verdict especially the tribunal’s alleged failure to determine some issues submitted by the petitioner.
The APC, Delta State chapter has restated its position on the issue, describing the tribunal ruling as “unfortunate, a grave travesty of justice and a major setback to the rule of law and impunity in our electoral process.”
It stated as follows:
“The ruling of the tribunal chaired by Honourable Justice Gunmi ought to be in favour of the petitioners but the PANEL went ahead to play DEFENCE on behalf of the Respondents by discrediting the certified card readers accreditation report admitted as exhibit from INEC when it ruled that ‘there is uncertainty as to whether the admitted card readers accreditation report captures all of the accredited voters.’ The question is how did the tribunal arrive at this ruling?
“Viewed against the ruling of the Court of Appeal in Akwa Ibom tribunal, it was held that Card Readers have become an integral lawful part of the electoral process and that accreditation done manually must be accompanied with duly completed and signed Incidents Forms otherwise such manual accreditation and votes allocated becomes null and void. A complete rerun was declared in Akwa Ibom and no longer in 18 local government areas as earlier ordered by the tribunal. Therefore, manual accreditation not accompanied with duly completed and signed incidents forms amounts to a mere waste of time and human resources.
“It remains obvious that the manual accreditation allegedly carried out by INEC in Delta State were not accompanied by duly completed and signed incidents forms and to that effect the votes allocated to the manually accredited voters stands null and void, as was held in APC vs PDP in Akwa Ibom Appeal ruling.
“The claim that voters captured by card readers in Delta State were not completely uploaded as at the time the petitioners obtained the certified true copies, the question that a reasonable man would ask is: “is there no time limit to upload genuine card readers captured voters”?
“INEC headquarters shut down her server after the due period allocated for upload of data from readers across the country expired. INEC headquarters cannot wait forever for Delta INEC to upload their data. The late upload of data by Delta INEC was part of the fraudulent strategies adopted by the INEC staff in Delta State criminally sell victory to Okowa and PDP, merely allocated votes through manual accreditation.
“On the issue of 17 paragraph petition, it is not the duty of the panel to determine how many pages a petitioner should produce to make his or her case valid or credible. What is relevant are FACTS in issue and evidence adduced in support of the petitioners petition.
“APC is sure of victory. Okowa’s winning votes of 724,680 far exceeded the captured 715,392 voters and valid votes. Okowa and PDP cannot hide under manual accreditation to rig election and thereafter claim victory.”
“The APC has also in a statement said: “The Court of Appeal in Benin City, the Edo State capital last Saturday upturned the ruling of the Delta State election tribunal which affirmed the victory of Chief Ighoyota Amori as the duly elected Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District in Delta State.
“Prior to the tribunal judgement, Amori then a serving Senator in the 8th Senate organized a lavished victory party at this country home in Mosogar in Ethiope West. The governor and his cabinet members, political appointees, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Honourable Dogara and political heavyweights of PDP across the country were in attendance. Unknowingly, Chief Amori was actually celebrating his exit from the Red Chambers.”
Director of Strategic Political Communication of Rescue Delta Media Group (RDMG) cum South-South APC-Grassroots Mobilizers for Buhari (GMB), Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, said “the recent outcome of rulings of the Court of Appeal in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta Central cases, have become substantial proof that the PDP then the national government, aided State governors and its candidates financially and provided fierce security logistics which enabled them to rig elections extensively in Delta, Rivers and Akwam Ibom States, among others.”
He went on: “APC Delta had made if clear that PDP candidate cannot be declared winner of the governorship election when 715,392 total number of accredited and captured voters is far less than the 724,680 Okowa winning votes. What this implies is that Okowa and PDP garnered the entire 715,392 votes captured by the Card Readers, leaving no votes for APC and LP candidates. It did not stop there. The alleged manual accreditation added more votes to Okowa’s winning votes after claiming all card readers accredited votes.”
He is however “happy that the Appeal Court rulings in governorship elections in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States stressed the need for INEC field officers during elections to comply with the electoral and manual guidelines as well as abide by lawful instructions and directives of the INEC as the umpire electoral body.”
He added: “The Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court stated that for manual accreditation to be valid and its votes to be counted along with those captured by card readers, the manual accreditation must be accompanied with duly completed and signed Incidents Forms (IF) otherwise votes recorded under manual accreditation will be null and void. To this effect, the Court of Appeal in APC vs PDP in Akwa Ibom governorship election nullified the entire results and declared rerun in all local government areas instead of the 18 local governments earlier ordered by the tribunal.”
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