Supreme Court Upholds Okowa, Ajimobi, Geidam’s Elections


Delta governor in victory dance in Asaba after ruling

The Supreme Court on Tuesday in Abuja affirmed the elections of the governors of Delta, Oyo and Yobe States.
The governors are Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
All the appeals challenging the elections of the three governors were dismissed.

The court said it would give reasons for affirming the elections of the three governors on February 15.
Justice Mary Peter-Odili, who delivered the lead judgment in the Yobe case, said: “I have reviewed the records in this appeal and the briefs filed by the parties. I find no merit in the appeal and I hereby dismiss it.”

She did not award costs and ordered the parties to bear the costs of the litigation. All justices agreed with the lead judgment.
Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi who delivered the lead judgment in the case of Oyo said: “I have read all the processes filed in this appeal. I have also considered all the arguments by parties. I dismissed the appeal.”

Justice Ogunbiyi also dismissed as an abuse of court process, an appeal filed by Rasheed Ladoja of the Accord Party (AP). She awarded no cost.

She also promised to give reasons for her judgment on February 15.
Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammed who read the court’s judgment in one of the appeals on the Delta governorship election also dismissed the appeal.

He said: “I have carefully considered the records of appeal in this case. I have also considered the arguments by counsel and their briefs, I find no merit in the appeals.”

He ordered the parties to bear the costs and promised to give reasons for the judgment on February 15.
There were two appeals from Delta State – one by Mr. Great Ogboru of Labour Party (LP), which was dismissed by Justice Muhammed.
The second appeal, which was filed by the All Progressives Congress‎’ (APC) candidate, Mr. O’tega Emehor, was dismissed by Justice John Okoro.

Justice Okoro said he found ‎no merit in the appeal and promised to give reasons for the judgment on February 15.
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the governorship elections of Mr. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Mr. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Following yesterday’s ruling, the Delta State Government House in Asaba, the state capital, was thrown into a theatre of praise songs and dancing, as residents joined Okowa after the news of his victory filtered in.

Okowa also called on Ogboru and Emerhor to apologise to the people of Delta State for distracting the attention of the government from the “responsibility of good governance” the electorate collectively placed on it.

He said: “I have already forgiven them, but they (Ogboru and Emerhor) must apologise to Deltans; they need to apologise to the people for distracting the government. They wasted not just the government’s but the people’s time and resources through their series of litigations.”
Okowa said that he, as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), deserved the victory, as the people voted for him massively in Delta South, Delta Central and Delta North, adding that Ogboru and Emerhor played the ethnic card instead of campaigning before the election.

The governor said reflectively that both Ogboru and Emerhor knew that the people across the three senatorial zones during the April 2015 governorship election in the state voted for him, but chose to disturb the government and the state by going from the state election tribunal to the appellate court and to the Supreme Court.

Okowa, who at a point during the victory dance led the praise songs in the Government House chapel, appealed to the people of the state to work for the unity of the entire state, saying a lot of sacrifice was needed for the enormous task ahead of developing the state.
He said that he expected Ogboru to withdraw his case especially “after Wike’s victory at the Supreme Court”, but noted that he was comforted by an ecouraging text message he received yesterday.

He advised the people to believe in a prosperous Delta State and charged them to be ready to makes the necessary sacrifices, especially by paying their taxes in order to help the government ease the process of development.

The governor said: “It is time to forgive and move on. As for me, I have forgiven them; but they should ask for the forgiveness of Deltans for the distraction. I hope they have learnt their lessons.

“For us, it is time to break away from the past and not fight for anything but fight to uplift the people of Delta State. It is time for a new partnership, a new friendship, a new energy.

“Times are tough, many don’t pay taxes apart from the civil servants. This state is destined for greatness, but we need to make sacrifices to build our state.

“Delta is a state destined for greatness, but let each of us play our part, work and pray to realise that dream. We must also teach our people to know God; His blessing will come out and we will live in peace and prosperity. The road may be rough now, but the future is great ahead of us.”

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