Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru

By: Jon Egie

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The April 26, governorship polls may have come but not gone as the result by which INEC declared the PDP candidate, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan winner stands contested and will be contested in court.

Although by the victory, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has expressed his gratitude to God for ‘enabling him to win the election the opposition led by the DPP are crying foul and in fact poised to throwing out the governor from office through the court, where possible.

It would be recalled that soon after the election result was announced by INEC, the state chairman of the DPP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, in Asaba, declared the readiness of the party to contest the result of the governorship election which returned the PDP candidate, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.

“We are putting every necessary machinery in the motion to pursue the case to its logical conclusion both the one held on January 6, and that of April 26.

“We are not going to collapse the two because they are separate elections and let me tell you, we are going to get justice by the grace of God.”

The requisite provision of the electoral act states that (1) an election petition shall be filed within 21 days after the declaration of the results or the elections, (2) an election tribunal shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of filing of the petition, (3) an appeal from a decision of an election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed off within 90 days from the date of the delivery of judgment of the tribunal.

Under section 134 of the 2010 Electoral Act, petitions against the declared results must be filed at the secretariat of the election petition tribunal in the state where the election was conducted within 21 days after the declaration of the results.

It was learnt that unlike in the past when only one tribunal handled cases arising from both governorship and legislative elections, one of the tribunals would now be in charge of the petitions from the governorship election while the other could handle only matters from the legislative elections.

Already the tribunals have been constituted and secretary of the two electoral panels, Deboral Musa, earlier told reporters that while the governorship election petition will be sitting at High Court 5, Umuda Layout, the legislative election petition tribunal will sit at High Court 3, Adjacent to the Asagba of Asaba palace in Asaba.

Almost ten days after the declaration of the results Spynews contacted the state chairman of the DPP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu to confirm if the party has already filed its petition to the election tribunal contesting the election and he declared, “Yes, we have done that”.

Mr. Efe Duku, Executive Assistant to Chief Great Ogboru also told Spynews that the issue of filing the election petition to the tribunal in protest of the result declared by INEC was not debatable, “it does not need to be confirmed because we cannot trade away the people’s mandate.”

The Ogboru campaign organization has given out directives to all members of the DPP and its supporters to remain stead fast, patient and hopeful as they prepare the governorship election petition and others seeking any one with results and evidence of malpractice to kindly submit same urgently because “we need it to recover our victory. Again, be assured Justice will prevail” they reassured.

But PDP members are confident of their victory at the April 26, polls and therefore exhibit no fear of litigation at the election tribunal.

Mr. Union Kweki-Ibi, the secretary to the PDP in Warri South LGA told Spynews that the party defeated its opponents outright when they canvassed, went to every nook and corner to campaign from door to door, neighbor to neighbor, convinced the people at the grassroots about the policies of the DPP “and they believed us and they voted for us enmass” denying the allegation that the PDP rigged the election and asserting that in Warri North LGA, “INEC said election held and it held.”

Spynews learnt that the interest of the DPP in contesting the result of the April 26, polls lies in the fabulous votes scored by the PDP in the three Warri LGAs whereas according to them, election visibly did not hold in Warri North and Oghara.

But even at that, Comrade Elijah Ologe, the Vice Chairman of Patani LGC cast aspersion at the votes scored by the DPP during the election and accused the DPP of having rigged the election.

“We are saying that the rigged the election to have gotten to where they are because I try to look at where they have that number of per5sons in Abraka in Ethiope East, but I cannot find it because the population in Ethiope East comprises of students of the university but these are students that were all at home during the election. So, I stand to contest most of the areas where they got those unimaginable figures.

Also responding to the readiness of the DPP to contest the victory of the PDP in the April 26, polls, Hon Prince Ben Oru, a PDP chieftain in Ughelli counter accused the DPP of rigging and applying maximum force aided by the military to force people to vote for them.

“DPP aided and abetted actively by the military went out to force people to vote for them, to flog people and to harass people all over the place. It was not that the military were even hiding to do it, they were doing it in public glare” Oru alleged adding that DPP did not merit any of the vote they got.

In his ;contribution, Chief Matthew Ofioguma (JP) a former president general of Ekakpamre community and stalwart of the PDP said normal registration was done which was acceptable to all Nigerians, nobody challenged it and I am sure nobody will say that there was over voting in any area,” submitting that failure has always been angry.

In the words of Sir Eddy Akangbou, a member of the Delta elders and leaders forum, INEC left so many critical areas for people to manipulate during the election stressing that the opposition had earlier pointed out these areas during the re-run election held on January 6, “but the same fraudulent practices, the same rigging methods that were perpetrated during the rerun manifested itself again in the April 26, polls. How can you declare such fantastic, bogus figures as your results for Warri North and Oghara. There were no elections in these two places.”

“There were incidents of ballot box snatching, incidents of intimidation of the youth corps members even to the extent of detaining so many of them and these youth corp members have come out to make statements to that effect and that is the area the DPP are going to present their case before the tribunal” he submitted.

When the tribunal has resumed sittings, the facts of the matter will no doubt be presented by the litigants and at the end the onus of seeing justice being done lies on the judiciary.