The Court of Appeal Division in Abuja will today deliver judgment in an appeal lodged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor (APC) against the judgment of the Delta Governorship State Election Petition Tribunal, which declared Dr Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the governorship poll.
The Court of Appeal Division in Benin, Edo State had on December 17, Thursday, reserved judgment on the appeal till a date to be communicated to parties in the suit.
However, a party in the appeal confided in our reporter that they were stunned when they were notified by the authorities of the appellate court that judgment in the appeal was to be now delivered in Abuja, the headquarters of the court.
The source disclosed that the appellate court authorities cited security concerns as reason for the relocation of the appeal to Abuja.
The APC and Emerhor had filed 11 grounds of appeal through their counsel, Chief T. J. Okpoko (SAN), following the validation of Okowa’s election by the tribunal.
Okpoko (SAN), after adopting his brief of argument at the court’s last sitting in Benin, had urged the appellate court to dismiss the cross appeal as it lacked merit and uphold the applicant’s appeal.
Some of his grounds of appeal included that, “the Learned Justices erred in law in resolving against the appellants that the Petition was incompetent on the ground of non-compliance with the procedural rule in paragraph 4 (3) (b) of the 1st schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
On the averments by the respondents/appellants that the appellant never pleaded for a re-run of the election at the lower tribunal and was now asking for it at the appellant court, Chief Okpoko said that they were relying on the old Section 140 of Electoral Act of 2002, saying that section 33(b) of the Electoral Act as amended simply stated that the power to order a re-election was based on the tribunal.
However, Dr Alex Iziyon for the 1st respondent had argued that the relief sought by the appellant asking for a re-run should not be granted because it was not asked for at the lower court. He added that the appellate court was not a Father Christmas, saying the statutes must be followed as laid for the granting of such relief