By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-City
The Court of Appeal in Benin City yesterday nullified the decision of the Delta State election tribunal that asked a rerun of the Delta South Senatorial District which was contested by James Manager of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanule Uduaghan who contested under the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform.
The court also upheld the election of Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC whose election was challenged by Evelyn Oboro of the PDP for the Delta Central Senatorial District.
It would be recalled that the Tribunal in Asaba, Delta state had in September, in a judgment delivered by Justice O. O Onyeabo ordered INEC to immediately withdraws the certificate if return, issued to Sen. James Manager with a view to conducting a rerun election owning to the claim by the Petitioner Emmanuel Uduaghan which he alleged over voting.
In an unanimous judgement by the three man panel led by Jaro Adamu in Benin City, the Appeal Court set aside the judgment of the tribunal and said the claims by Uduaghan where mere allegations.
On that of Oboro against Omo-Agege, the said the appeal lacked merit
Counsel to the Deputy senate president, Selekeowe Larry, SAN, while speaking to newsmen said, the judgment by the appeal court has further rekindled the hope of the common man who may want to seek legal redress anytime anyway.
In a related development, the appeal court also dismissed the appeal filed by Joel Onovwakpor (APC) against the member representing Isoko Federal Constituency, Leo Ogor (PDP)
Joel had earlier approached the court on the grounds that the election was marred with electoral irregularities. In his ruling, they resolved against the appellant and delivered judgement in favour of the respondents.
Similarly, the justices struck out the appeal filed by the former speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya(APC) against the current member representing Okpe/Uvwie and Sapele federal constituency, Eve Afe (PDP).
Also the Appeal court upheld the election of Honourable Thomas Ereyitomi of the PDP representing Warri federal constituency against the appeal of Hon Daniel Reyenieju of the Social Democratic Party.
The chairman, PDP Delta Central Julius Sagene said “This judgment was expected, it showed that judiciary in Nigeria is at work, this election was won overwhelmingly at the polls, we won that election convincingly, they won in only one local government area out of the eight and we won in seven of the local government areas.
The lower tribunal erred when they relied on only one witness to ask for a rerun. We thank God that the erudite justices threw away that position of the tribunal. This is a victory for the people because Manager was given this mandate freely.”