“Today, the 29th of September, 2023, the Governorship Election Tribunal holden in Asaba, Delta State gave judgement in our petition challenging the return of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The outcome is not what we expected.
“Let it be said with every sense of conviction and responsibility that in reaching its judgment, the Tribunal in Asaba, in our respectful view, failed to avert its mind to the intendment of the plethora of unambiguous innovations now contained in the Electoral Act, 2022. In relation to the instant petition, these are most particularly evident in sections 137 and 73(2) and paragraph 46(4) [First Schedule) of the Act mandating the Tribunal on how to properly handle the required evidence duly placed before it by the petitioners in proof of the petition and corroborated by INEC itself.
“We hold the reasoned view that if the Tribunal dutifully attended to the unassailable evidence in support of ALL the polling unit results and every other relevant electoral document duly tendered before it using our present electoral jurisprudence and benchmarks already set by the Supreme Court as its compass, today’s outcome would have been clearly in our favour.
“As chief proponents of a clean electoral system, we disagree that ballots obtained in manifest breach of the Electoral Act and our Constitution are lawful and valid votes in the 2023 Delta State Governorship Election. Further, we also do not believe that the law permits the Tribunal to do nothing having found as a matter of fact and consistent with the petition that votes were arbitrarily inflated in favour of our opponents.
“Also, we do not believe that today’s judgment is in consonance with the letters and spirit of the new Act which, for the first time in our electoral history and jurisprudence, now unequivocally mandates a Tribunal to reject and cancel an election conducted at a polling unit if the serial numbers and other identities of the electoral materials used are not formally recorded into the INEC prescribed forms. We know that where this particular infraction is manifest on documentary evidence before the tribunal, the Act clearly says such must be thoroughly considered by a Tribunal and the result cancelled, as same is unlawful. This, regrettably, is not the case with the instant decision.
“So, let us be clear. For the matters mentioned herein and much more, we say with calm confidence and conviction that today’s judgment is nothing but a grave injustice that will not stand appellate scrutiny. But we must thank their Lordships for all they did as humans given the very toxic and intimidating environment in which they operated in the last six months. We wish them well.
“In view of the foregoing, I have instructed my erudite legal team to immediately appeal the judgement of the Tribunal. We are grateful for their steady industry and extraordinary commitment.
“I call on our people to remain calm and law-abiding. We came into this race to rescue our beloved Delta State knowing that it will not be a smooth sail. So, keep hope alive. With God, we shall get to our destination under His abiding grace.”
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, CFR
(Obarisi of Urhoboland & 2023 Delta State Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress)
September 29, 2023,