By Uche GOODLUCK OKONJI
In a dramatic showdown at the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Asaba, the much-anticipated case between Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the formidable trio of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sheriff Oborevwori, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) took center stage today, 23/06/23.
The petitioner, Omo-Agege, along with his astute legal representative, Barr. Kenneth made a bold move by seeking relief from the court under the schedule of documents. The sought-after evidence included FORM EC8A, FORM EC8B, FORM EC8C, FORM EC8D, FORM EC8E, and the INEC Voters Register used during the highly contested 2023 gubernatorial election in Delta State.
However, the courtroom atmosphere quickly became charged as the counsel representing the first, second, and third respondents (INEC, Sheriff Oborevwore, and PDP) vehemently objected to the presentation of the aforementioned documents. Despite their objections, the judge allowed the documents to be marked as exhibit AP1, signaling the commencement of a fierce legal battle.
Undeterred by the opposition, Omo-Agege proceeded to present an impressive array of evidence, tendering 25 forms of EC8A and 34 forms of EC8B to the court. While INEC reserved objection to the EC8B form, both the PDP and Sheriff Oborevwore objected to its admissibility. Their objections, however, were overruled by the judge, who marked the documents as Exhibit 3B1. Continuing the presentation, Omo-Agege tendered 25 forms of EC8C, 1 form of EC8D, and 1 form of EC8E, facing further objections from the opposing counsel. Yet again, the judge ruled in favor of admission, marking the documents as exhibit 3EC1, 3ED1, and 3ED2, respectively.
Taking the battle to the next level, Omo-Agege’s legal team produced a plethora of payment receipts for certification and polling unit results, with INEC raising no objections. However, the PDP and Sheriff Oborevwori vigorously opposed their admission. Nevertheless, the judge sided with Omo-Agege, accepting and admitting the payment receipts, marked as exhibits 3BF1 and F2.
Unfazed by the mounting objections, Omo-Agege presented a staggering 111 copies of the INEC Voters Register to the court. INEC’s counsel expressed hesitancy in objecting, but due to the photocopied nature of three polling unit voters registers, he lodged an objection. This objection was supported by both the PDP and Sheriff Oborevwore. In response, the judge marked the document as Exhibit 3AG111, while deliberating on its certification status.
In a final display of resilience, Omo-Agege’s legal team submitted a receipt for the payment of certified true copies (CTC) of the voter’s register for 142 polling units across Delta State. INEC raised no objections, but the PDP and Sheriff Oborevwore persisted in their opposition. Eventually, the judge admitted the receipt, numbered 00161, marked as exhibit 3EH1.
The climax of the proceedings came when Omo-Agege tendered the BVAS report, encompassing a comprehensive analysis of approximately 5,859 polling units. Accompanied by a duly certified Certificate of Identification, the report was supported by a payment receipt for the CTC of the BVAS report. As expected, INEC voiced no objections to its admission, while the PDP and Sheriff Oborevwore kept up their objections. Nevertheless, the judge ruled in favor of Omo-Agege once again, marking the BVAS report as Exhibit 3EJ1-J2. The accompanying Certification of Compliance and payment receipt, numbered 094418, were also admitted as exhibits 3PK1 and 3PK2, respectively.
With a flurry of evidence presented and objections raised, the proceedings reached a temporary halt. The matter was adjourned to 6/7/23 and 10/07/23, signaling that the battle at the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal is far from over. The intense legal confrontation between Omo-Agege, supported by Barr. Kenneth and others, and the trio of INEC, Sheriff Oborevwori, and the PDP is set to continue, captivating the nation’s attention.
The outcome of this high-stakes battle has far-reaching implications for the political landscape of Delta State. As the countdown to the next hearing begins, both sides are expected to employ every legal tactic at their disposal, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for victory. The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal remains a battleground where reputations are on the line, and the future of the state hangs in the balance.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in this gripping saga as the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal holds the key to unveiling the truth behind the contentious 2023 gubernatorial election. The nation waits with bated breath for the final verdict that will determine the course of Delta State’s political destiny.