The Delta State Labour Party, LP, has made a claim of initial advantage in the on-going Delta State governorship tribunal proceedings at the Delta State Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the capital of Delta State.
In a statement, issued by Efe Duku, on behalf of the Public Communication Committee, Labour Party (LP), Delta State, the party claimed that the decision of the Justice Nasiru Gumi led Delta Elections Petitions Tribunal to collapse all applications and petitions into the substantive hearing has removed the power of the PDP to “raise technical objections to frustrate the petition.
The statement titled: “OKOWA IS A GONER … as Ogboru, LP floor Okowa, PDP, INEC in Round One”, reads thus: “The Delta State Governorship Tribunal today repelled a challenged to its unfettered jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition filed by Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and the Labour Party (LP) to remove Senator (Dr.) Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from office as the Governor of Delta State. Okowa, PDP and the Independent National Commission (INEC) had teamed up to raise technical objections to frustrate the petition”.
The statement goes on to state that, “Dele Adesina (SAN) who is leading 15 lawyers for Chief Ogboru had argued in flowery intelligence that the legislature amended or inserted a new paragraph 12(5) into the 1st Schedule to Electoral Act 2010 in order to ensure that election petitions are determined on their merits. Relying on key Supreme Court authorities, Ogboru’ counsel argued that by that amendment, the days of technical justice were gone for good and Okowa and his co-respondents could not resurrect such bad legalese in our electoral jurisprudence. The Tribunal agreed completely with Ogboru’s counsel”.
According to the statement, “In its ruling, the Tribunal mentioned that Okowa’s counsel had argued that the panel should “take the bull by the horn” by accepting their technical move to terminate the petition prematurely without a hearing. However, the Chairman noted that they ‘did not see a bull let alone any horn’! That should be food for thought for election riggers who seek to hide under technicalities to remain in office and consolidate the current culture of pervasive bad governance in Delta State”.
Justifying its advantage claim, the Labour Party statement said that, “By the ruling, the stage is now set for Senator Okowa to tell the world how he won an election generally seen as ‘too senselessly rigged to be ignored’. The law will now force him to do so. He can no longer hide. We have made it abundantly clear that unless Senator Okowa proves how he got the bogus votes, we will remove him from office with ignominy. Indeed, we are confident his days shall be few in office”.
The statement went on further to state that, “We are determined to remove Okowa from office because we are confident he is not a legitimate winner and we can prove it easily. For us, Okowa is an extension of electoral impunity and leadership recklessness in Delta. Impunity that is so typical of Delta State. Indeed, it is only in Delta that a government, so-called, that received an average of N2 Trillion in 8 years from the Federation Account boldly ‘left’ N636 Billion as ‘debt’ for this and future generations to repay!, adding that “Monies now hidden in private accounts because there is just no evidence of the use of such an amount in the State. And it happened because the business of governance has been reduced to a ‘paddy paddy’ ride for looters. If we turn blind eyes, the future will be blind. That, we can’t afford”.
The statement concluded thus: “May we again assure all Deltans that Chief Ogboru is driven only by strong values and enduring principles. Political leadership is too important to be left in the hands of election riggers. Because they do not represent the wishes and aspirations of our people, their ways cannot be sustained for too long. Standing firm, we will someday cut short their expectations. As for us, Okowa is a goner”, it stated categorically.