Justice C.M.O. Olatoregun-Isola ruled that the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) case against the All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP), and Accord Party (AP) Delta State Governorship candidates had insufficient evidence and has to be taken to the Election Petition Tribunal. During the April 11, 2015 Gubernatorial election the PDP claimed that all the opposition candidates were not valid to be placed on the ballot.
Delivering her judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Olatoregun-Isola noted that PDP did not show sufficient evidence to prove that their rights were transgressed by the opposition Parties in the State or why the defendants’ candidature should be nullified. According to the judge, it was a matter that should be decided at the Election Petition Tribunal and therefore struck out the suit.
The Delta State chapter of the PDP and Governor Okowa rushed to the Federal High Court and instituted a legal action challenging the eligibility of all the candidates of APC, AP and LP in the general elections in a suit.
The case originated from the chambers of Mr. Akinlolu Kehinde, SAN, and filed in March 2015 on behalf of PDP at the Federal High Court sitting in Asaba was asking the court to disqualify the candidates on the grounds that their parties violated sections 85(1) of the Electoral Acts, 2010 (as amended).
The list of defendants in the suit include, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; APC governorship flagbearer, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor; LP governorship candidate, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru; Accord Party senatorial candidate in Delta North, Mr. Victor Ochei and 95 others.
The matter came up for judgement on Thursday witnessed a big crowd of supporters and party members of the APC, LP and AP as well as the heavy presence of stern looking security men.
The presiding judge therefore warned PDP not to use the courts as “a playground.” Reacting to the judgement, counsel to PDP, Akinnolu Kehinde (SAN) said the judgment of the court would be studied and a position would be taken by his clients.
“As a senior counsel and a lawyer, I am bound by the decision of the court. We will take the next step when we get to that bridge.”
APC Barrister, Valentine Onojeghuo expressed joy by saying this was democracy in action.
“We are happy with the decision of the court. It is a well considered judgment by the court. We have known from the onset that it was a futile action by the PDP to score cheap political victory because they know that they don’t stand a chance against us at the Tribunal and they were hoping to use it as an opportunity to frustrate us at the Tribunal.
“The judgment has put paid to the scheming by the PDP and established the fact that we conducted our primaries in line with the provision of the electoral act and our candidates were validly nominated as candidates of party during the primaries,” Onojeghuo stated.
Also reacting, a chieftain of the Labour Party and aide to Ovedje Great Ogboru, Mr. Efe Duku, described the judgement as victory for LP which he said has serious negative multiplier effects for “PDP’s unholy calculations in the Election Tribunals. They have placed heavy reliance on the case in their pleadings in the Election Tribunals. Now, their hopes have evaporated and the loss will manifest in the Tribunals. We need not say more for now.”
Meanwhile, shortly after the judgement was delivered, APC and LP party supporters embarked on jubilation, dancing and singing victory songs.
At the time of filing in this report, SaharaReporters learned that the jubilations and victory dance were replicated across the state by party faithfuls and supporters.