Delta Tribunal: If Card Reader is illegal, Okowa’s election is illegal -Ogboru

The Labour Party and its gubernatorial candidate Chief Great Ogboru yesterday in Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, submitted and adopted its written address in their petitions challenging the declaration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, as winner of the April 11, election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa

At the resumed hearing yesterday the petitioner’s counsel Mr Dele Adesina (SAN) argued that if use of card reader in the conduct of the April 11, 2015 governorship election was illegal as was alleged by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondent (Okowa, PDP and INEC), it therefore imply that Okowa’s election in the first place is illegal.

In his submission, Adesina (SAN) urged the tribunal to nullify the election and order a fresh one, arguing that the petitioners have been able to establish cases over fifty percent of over voting with other irregularities that mar the conduct of the election.

Addressing newsmen stated that: “Our major prayer is that the Delta state governorship election of April 11, 2015 was marred by irregularities and non compliance with the provision of the electoral Act and guidelines, therefore the tribunal should order for nullification of the election because if they say the use of the card reader is illegal, it implies that the election of the first respondent (Okowa) is illegal”.

“Section 49 of the Electoral Act did not prohibit the use of card reader; section 52 of the same Act expressly prohibited electronic voting and not electronic accreditation.

“The tribunal should order for a rerun election because the election that brought Okowa to office violated section 153, section 73 and section 52 of the constitution and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the constitution and given all the powers to make rules and regulations that will make for the efficient performance of its duties.

“It is in pursuant of that, that INEC introduced the use of the card readers. It will be recall that the only reason why the whole world applauded the 2015 election was because of the card reader initiative.

“The tribunal should be able to look at the results and outcome of the verification exercise and whether there was over voting or not; and once they have decided that there was over voting, the consequence as stipulated by the law; particularly in polling units where there are over voting, is that there should be nullification of that unit result.”

Adesina who adopted his written address, counter affidavit and motion on notice dated June 29, also picked holes in the argument of the second respondent that the petition was not signed, contending that the petition was signed and that the issue of signatory was not an issue of law but that of fact which can be determined by looking at the petition.

On the issue of locus standi, Adesina told the tribunal that the respondents cannot challenge the locus of the petitioners without a cross petition, adding that “notwithstanding that point of law, we submit that the petitioners satisfied the requirements of locus.”

The tribunal yesterday reserved judgment for two weeks, saying that counsels will be communicated on the date.

 

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