By Austin Ogwuda,
GOVERNORSHIP Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba, Friday upheld the election of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State as duly elected during the April 26 polls, but however invalidated results from six local government areas.
The Tribunal headed by Justice Joy Nwanna, in a four-hour judgment delivered under water tight security held that based on available evidence before it and after subtracting invalid votes in six of the twenty local government areas of the State that Governor Uduaghan of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP “still has the highest number of total votes cast and equally maintained two-third of the votes”.
The tribunal stated the local government areas where results were declared invalid as follows, Warri North, Warri South, Warri South West, Ethiope West, Bomadi and Burutu, pointing out that after the removing the invalid votes from those areas, that Governor Uduaghan scored 422,509 votes against the petitioner, Chief Great Ogboru of Democratic Peoples Party DPP, who polled 410,552 votes.
It further held that available evidence showed that elections were not conducted “as ballot papers, ballot boxes and other materials were not made available by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC”.
On the issue of electoral violence, it was the view of the tribunal that the burden of proof lies with the petitioner and therefore held that the issue of electoral violence during the election was not proved beyond reasonable doubt by the petitioner as there was no documentary evidence to that effect.
Conclusively, the tribunal held that “the return of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in April 26 guber election is lawful and done in accordance with law and the Electoral Act 2010”.
It was jubilation galore by PDP supporters .
Meanwhile, the Chairman of DPP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu told the press shortly after the judgment that his party would go to the Appeal Court to seek redress.