Appeal Court reinstates Delta PDP governorship candidate, Oborevwori

Appeal Court reinstates Delta PDP governorship candidate, Oborevwori

By Edith Nwapi, Abuja.

 

The Court of Appeal on Monday reinstated the Speaker of Delta House of Assembly, Sherrif Oborevwori, as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

 

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment  by a three-man panel of judges, led by Justice Olabisi Ige, vacated the judgment  of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

 

The high court judgment directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognize Mr Olorogun Edevbie as the rightful candidate of the PDP for the governorship election in Delta slated for March 11, 2023.

 

The Court of Appeal held that the high court wrongly relied on the Originating Summons that Edevbie brought before it to disqualify Oborevwori on the premise that he tendered forged certificates to INEC.

 

Delivering the judgement, Justice Ige noted that allegations Edevbie’s raised against Oborevwori “were deeply rooted and founded in criminality”.

 

He stressed that in view of contentious nature of the allegations, the allegations ought to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt at the trial court.

 

The appellate court ruled that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court erred when he granted all the reliefs Edevbie sought in his suit, without recourse to evidence of witnesses that would have included institutions that awarded certificates to Oborevwori.

 

“Facts were irreconcilably in conflict and could not have been resolved without oral evidence”, the appellate court held, adding that the burden of proof in the matter was on the First Respondent, Edevbie.

 

“There is no scintilla of evidence on record to prove that the Appellant tendered forged certificate to the INEC,” the appellate court added.

 

It further held that Edevbie’s legal action was premature, as Oborevwori’s name had not been submitted to INEC by the PDP as at the time the lawsuit was filed.

 

The appellate court held that preconditions stipulated in Sections 177 and 182 (j)of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as Section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, must be met, before the right of any aggrieved aspirant to approach the court to challenge the validity of particulars submitted to INEC by any candidate could crystallize.

 

It held that the First Respondent did not, in the entire spectrum of his suit, pinpoint how the PDP breached either the Electoral Act or the 1999 Constitution, as amended, in the governorship primary election it conducted on May 25.

 

More so, the court held that in the event that the case of the First Respondent succeeded, he would not be the beneficiary of the judgement, as his political party, PDP, would have been disqualified.

 

“The decision of the lower court was perverse and it is accordingly set aside.

 

“The appellant’s appeal is, hereby, allowed,” the court ruled.

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