Delta Guber Tribunal Verdict; Insulting to discerning legal minds- APC …Says judgement was procured by means other than legal

The Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Delta State, Prophet Jones Erue yesterday condemned in a strongest of terms, the judgement of the Justice Gummi panel delivered on October 26th 2015 in favour of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and denouncing it as a grave travesty of justice and a major setback to the rule of law and the ongoing regime of the dismantling of impunity in the electoral process.CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed

The Delta State APC Chairman, Prophet Erue, in a statement sent to ADVOCATE, via Email described judgement delivered by Justice Nasiru Gummi led 3-man panel as cunning, patronizing and insulting to discerning legal minds, adding that the judgement fed on deception, pretences and subterfuge.

The Delta State Governorship election tribunal sitting in Asaba with Justices Nasiru Gummi as Chairman delivered its much anticipated verdict in the case of our Party and Candidate, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor’s challenge to the declaration of  Okowa as Governor of Delta State in the April 11 2015, governorship election in the state.

Erue stated that; “those who have been following the fireworks of the legal proceedings of the tribunal and indeed all progressive Deltans and Nigerians were shocked at the unexpected verdict and wondered out quite loudly how the PANEL managed the trick of pulling Okowa/PDP from the jaws of a loss and to award them victory in the circumstances of the case!

He noted that the tribunal while doing Okowa’s and PDP bidding; “wittingly and pretentiously accepted in its ruling; that INEC has powers to make guidelines for the elections including the designation of Card Readers for mandatory use in the elections. And that the non use of card readers and/or non compliance with INEC guidelines is sufficient ground to prove non compliance with the Electoral Act which is a firm ground for cancellation of an election as is the plea of the petitioners.”

“In spite of the deferent rulings which ordinarily favoured the petitioners, the panel went ahead to play defence on behalf of the respondents’; ‘The three (3) respondents, Okowa,  PDP and INEC in their pleading and witnesses statements before the panel, had admitted and argued that  “INEC guidelines were mere instructions and the use of card  readers was ultra vire to the Electoral Act,  that the card readers failed during election operation and that they resorted to manual accreditation and lawfully so as that is what is recognized by the Electoral Act.”

“The star witness of the 1st respondent and Secretary to the State Government, Hon Festus Ovie-Agas was on record to have stated this position in his disposition and verbal testimony where he further confirms the fact that the respondents resorted to manual accreditation upon the failure of the card readers. How come then did the panel hold that “no evidence was adduced to show that manual accreditation took place”?

He argued that in law, you do not require further evidence to substantiate an admitted fact, alleging that the panel went on to dismiss Hon Agas crucial admission and evidence as hearsay.

He stated further that the panel in their quest to help the respondents had to contradict itself, when the respondents asked the tribunal to dismiss the petitioners’ case on the point of law that only one of the petitioners signed the petition.

He noted that the petitioners had relied on the appeal court case of   Ibrahim V Sheriff (2002) which was the subsisting legal position that allows any one signatory to sign unbehalf of all petitioners;  however, the respondents, resorted to a recent case of Balogun V Akpatason (August 2015) decided after the petitioners’ case has been instituted.

Eru stressed that the panel, “knowing they were about to take a risky plunge first tried to wet the grounds!  Now hear the panel; …although if we had an option as to which to adopt between Balogun v Akpatason and Ibrahim v Sheriff,  we would certainly have preferred Ibrahim v Sheriff because we feel it accords with what is FAIR and JUST in the circumstances of the petition.”

“So what did the panel rule? Your guess is as good as mine!  They rule for the respondents against their feeling of what accords with what is FAIR and JUST!

“APC Delta state roundly rejects this evil judgement which was clearly procured by means other than legal. This is a daylight robbery with too many finger prints left behind. Our legal teams already have our instructions and we will surely meet Okowa and PDP and test this robbery at the appeal court”. He noted.

He appealed to party faithfuls, supporters and well wishers to be calm, noting that the end of PDP 16years of misrule in Delta is insight.


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