The Court of Appeal on Thursday affirmed Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the duly elected Governor of Delta State in the April 11, 2015, gubernatorial election in the state, while dismissing the appeal filed by Chief Great Ogboru, the candidate of the Labour Party in the election.
Recall that the Delta State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal had earlier affirmed Okowa’s election, before the petitioner, Ogboru, headed to the appellate court.
A unanimous decision by the five-man bench led by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji held that the petitioner’s claims that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in declaring Okowa the duly-elected candidate lacked merit and went ahead to affirm the tribunal’s judgment.
But the petitioner, while praising the judges of the appeal court for ‘concluding this phase of the litigation process,’ promised to approach the Supreme Court for final resolution of the matter.
“The Court of Appeal just delivered judgment in favour of PDP in our appeal. We salute their Lordships for concluding this phase of the litigation process.
“We note at once that the Court did not pronounce on all the burning issues submitted to it for adjudication. Significantly, the Court did not make a finding on the fact that the result of the election was pre-written before collation of votes began.
“There is another phase at the Supreme Court to test the correctness or otherwise of this judgment. Obviously, it shall be tested on appeal.
“May God bless our dear Delta State and help us all,” a statement by senior media aide to Ogboru, Henry Efe Duku, read just after the appeal court’s judgment was delivered.
While the judgment may come as a relieve to Okowa’s camp, another suit challenging his victory at the polls, filed by the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, at the Court of Appeal is yet to be determined.