ASABAâ€”OVER one hundred fierce-locking armed mobile policemen were deployed to man the venue of the Retrial Election Petitions Tribunal in Asaba, ahead ofÂ todayâ€™s judgment onÂ election petition filed by Action Congress (AC) 2007 governorship candidate, Mr. Peter Okocha challenging the election of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Also today, the Retrial tribunal headed by Justice B.S. Mohammed will deliver ruling on whether the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State should be allowed to testify at the ongoing trial of petition filed by the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) governorship candidate in 2007, Chief Great Ogboru.
Delta INEC had since produced electoral materials used for the 2007 governorship polls, but Ogboruâ€™s counsel is insisting that the REC should enter the witness box to give oral evidence which INECâ€™s lead counsel, Mr. Ken Mozia, is opposing.
Confirming the deployment of the policemen, the state police commandâ€™s spokesman, Mr. Charles Muka, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), warned supporters of both Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and AC to conduct themselves in orderly manner and stay away from trouble in their own interest.
Muka told Vanguard in Asaba yesterday afternoon that â€œall necessary arrangements have already been put in place to ensure hitch-free court sessionâ€, adding that â€œa unit of PMF (Police Mobile Force) personnel has been deployed to ensure the verdict is violence-freeâ€.
Similarly, the petition filed by the wife of the former PDP chairman, Mrs. Marian Ali, which was recently returned to Asaba for retrial, is expected to commence today too.
On todayâ€™s verdict on Okochaâ€™s petition, the Court of Appeal, Benin City had on the 19thÂ January, 2009 ordered the lower tribunal to consider the substantive petition on its merit.
Okocha is seeking for the following:
*An order nullifying the governorship election of Delta State held on April 14, 2007, wherein the first petitioner (Okocha) was unlawfully excluded
*An order invalidating the results of the governorship election wherein Emmanuel Uduaghan was returned as a winner
â€œAn order compelling (INEC) to conduct fresh governorship election in Delta State wherein the first petitionerâ€™s name and photograph and the second petitionerâ€™s logo (AC) shall be included in the ballot papers
The first panel had in September 2007 dismissed Okochaâ€™s petition on grounds that the petitioners lacked the locus standi to institute the action, having not participated in the April 14 governorship election.