Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Friday in Asaba, upheld the victory of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last March 9 governorship election.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Great Ogboru had, in a petition marked EPT/DT/GOV/01/2019, challenged the re-election of Ifeanyi Okowa who was declared the winner of the March 9, 2019 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ogboru, in his petition, had alleged that the governorship election in the state was marred by massive rigging and electoral irregularities.
He argued that he won at places where voting took place and should, therefore, be declared winner having scored the highest number of lawful votes cast.
Dismissing the petition filed by Ogboru and APC, the tribunal’s chairman described the action as: “opportunistic and gold-digging.”
Justice Belgore threw out the petition in its entirety declaring that the petitioners failed to prove that Okowa was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
Tribune Online reports that the tribunal’s Friday’s ruling slated for 10:00a.m was earlier disrupted and forced to temporarily suspend the process over power failure at the tribunal premises.
Shortly after the power plant was resolved, the panel resumed and affirmed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as the actual winner of the March 9 governorship election.
Recall that Okowa, who was declared the winner of the Governorship election had polled 925, 274 votes to defeat Chief Great Ogboru of the APC, who scored 215, 938 votes.
The chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Sulaiman Belgore, in its lead judgment, dismissed Ogboru’s petition for lack of merit.
Speaking on his Facebook handle shortly after the judgement on Friday, Governor Okowa wrote: “Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Asaba, has just upheld our victory in the March 9th election.
“As we celebrate this reiteration of our victory in the polls, we do so with the understanding that our work to build a #StrongerDelta must continue!”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has congratulated Dr Okowa on his victory at the election petition tribunal.
Reacting to the Tribunal judgement on Friday, the Speaker in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Dennis Otu, said that he was not surprised that judgement was given in favour of the governor.
Also, the Delta State PDP has hailed the victory of Senator Okowa at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Asaba, the State capital, saying it was an expected and well-deserved affirmation of the desires of all Deltans.
Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza, State Publicity Secretary, of Delta State PDP, made the disclosure in a press statement issued after the tribunal declared Senator Okowa victorious.