By Vivian Okejeme Abuja and Nosa Akenzua Asaba
The Supreme Court, yesterday, upheld the elections of Okezies Ikpeazu (PDP), Darius Ishaku (PDP), Abubakar Bello (APC) and Ifeanyi Okowa (PDP) as the elected governors of their states.
Arguing his application, counsel to Alex Otti, candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 governorship election and its party, Lateef Fagbemi adopted his processes.
He urged the Apex court to set aside the Appellate Court claim that the documents tendered at the tribunal were dumped on the court.
He argued that findings by the Appellate Court that the documents tendered were not true certified document were also an error because the issue of proper certification did not arise.
He then prayed the court to allow the appeal and set aside the position of the Appellate Court and order a fresh election.
In his own argument, counsel to INEC, Zakawanu Garba asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal.
Similarly, counsel to Governor Ikpeazu, Wole Olanipekun also asked the court to dismiss the appeal, arguing that the appellant came third and merely wants to usurp Ikpeazu.
Delivering a lead judgment, Justice Amiru Sanusi, one of the panel members held that Otti’s appeal lacked merit and was liable for dismissal.
In the same vein, while affirming the elections of governor Ishaku Darius of Taraba, one of the seven-man panel, Justice Ejembi Eko affirmed that the counsel to the APC admitted that the party had no candidate in the election and therefore has no locus standi to contest the election of the governor.
The Judge added that the appellant conceded the fact and went ahead to suggest that the Supreme Court allow one professor to step into the shoes of the disqualified candidate.
Justice Eko held that the law is clear on the issue of disqualification of a candidate.
The Judge noted: “This petition is a mere academic exercise and cannot be given any value; and being an abuse of court process, complete distraction and wasteful exercise. it shall be and is hereby dismissed,”
In the case of Okowa of the PDP, Justice Centus Nweze held that the appellant, Great Ogboru failed to prove allegations of over-voting.
He said that the appeal is a waste of the precious time of the Apex Court.
Meanwhile, Anioma born politician, Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko has rejoiced with the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa on his Supreme Court victory .
Nwoko said in statement on the heels of the supreme Court affirmation of Okowa as winner of the March 9 , 2019 Delta Governorship election,said the victory was expected.
He congratulated the Governor and expressed relief that the apex Court judgment has finally rested the issue of the gubernatorial race.
He said Deltans freely gave their mandate to Okowa with glaring victorious outcome across the three senatorial districts.
Nwoko added that the beauty of democracy not only recognized the announcement of results and swearing in of winners, but also allowed for litigation by those not satisfied with the outcome of the electoral process
According to Nwoko, “The coast is clear for my dear brother Okowa. Now that the Supreme Court has finally given its verdict on the Governorship matter which had gone through the tribunal and the appeal court, it is time to settle down to deliver on the mandate of the people of Delta State
“I want to advise my friend, Chief Great Ogboru to let the governorship issue rest and extend a hand of fellowship to Okowa in the interest of the State.
“I congratulate my brother the Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on this worthwhile victory. This is another opportunity to exemplify your sterling leadership qualities of humility and integrity like you have always done. The whole Delta State is your constituency, including those that have challenged you in court. So,work with everybody and move on to leave an enduring legacy for generations of Deltans to proudly remember.”
The former member House of Representatives Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency (1999-2003) thanked Deltans for their pro Okowa goodwill since 2015.