26th July, 2011
The Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, candidate in the 6 January, 2011 governorship election rerun in Delta State, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru has vowed to appeal the judgement delivered yesterday by the state Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba.
Chairperson of the tribunal, Justice Uzoamaka Doris Ogwuarike dismissed the petition yesterday saying that Ogboru failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
Responding to the judgement, the DPP and Great Ovedje Ogboru Campaign Organization commended the dexterity of the jurists in the rerun election petition, saying that within five days they were able to arrive at a conclusion.
However, the group faulted the judgement which placed the burden of proof of non-proper conduct of the election on the petitioner and argued that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should have been asked to prove if it actually conducted the polls.
Despite the strides set by the justices during the trial, Ogboru said he was set to appeal the judgement.
A statement by Ogboru and his campaign organization urged their numerous supporters to remain strong saying hope was alive. They pledged to continue the fight aimed at making stronger the nationâ€™s democracy.
Meanwhile, it was a sad day for the majority of Delta state indigenes who had besieged the state Elections Petition Tribunal venue in Asaba in their thousands as early as 7 a.m yesterday with enthusiasm and a high hope that Ogboru would triumph over the incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
They defied the restriction order by the security agents to register their presence and to show solidarity with Ogboru who they saw as the governor-in-waiting.
For about four hours, the people waited but when the news eventually came, it was contrary to their expectation and the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, leaders in the court as well as a few of them allowed to enter the court room openly condemned the verdict, calling the judgment â€œa satanic oneâ€ which cannot stand.
â€œWe shall challenge the judgment in the Court of Appeal, we shall not give up until the wishes of the people are done and the mandate that was given to our candidate is retrieved from those that have stolen it,â€ one of them boasted.
Inside the tribunal, there was a mild drama when Hon. Akpeki, a commissioner under the Uduaghan administration clashed with one of Ogboruâ€™s supporters over an undisclosed issue. The people later stepped in to make peace.
At Ughelli where Great Ogboru and his supporters were deliberating over the outcome of the judgment, his aides told P.M.News that Ogboru will be addressing the press later.
Meanwhile, Governor Uduaghan will be addressing the Press on the outcome of the court verdict today as he was away to Warri yesterday on official assignment. The DPP supporters alleged that the governor had fled the state for Canada having heard that the Tribunalâ€™s verdict was not likely to be in his favour.
â€”Moyo Fabiyi & Yomi Obaditan/Asaba