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Delta Guber Primary: Edevbie, Oborevwori Know Fate As Supreme Court Delivers Judgement October 21

Sheriff Oborevwori
Sheriff Oborevwori
THEWILL APP ADS 2

October 12, (THEWILL) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday, fixed October 21, to deliver judgement on an appeal seeking to nullify the nomination of the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 guber election in the state.

A five-member panel presided over by Justice Amina Augie, fixed the date after all the parties adopted their final briefs of arguments.

Recall that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in its judgement on August 29, restored Oborevwori as the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Olabisi Ige, vacated the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which earlier directed INEC to recognise David Edevbie, as the bonafide candidate of the PDP for the election.

It held that the high court wrongly relied on Originating Summons Edevbie brought before it to disqualify Oborevwori on the premise that he tendered forged certificates to the PDP.

Not satisfied, Edevbie approached the apex court to challenge the ruling of the appellate court.

While adopting his brief of argument on Wednesday, Counsel to the Appellant, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), told the apex court that Oborevwori had in an affidavit he deposed to, claimed that he was born in 1963, but however, tendered a West African Examination Council (WAEC) certificate that was issued to someone that was born in 1979.

“My lords, the 1st Respondent has not denied this allegation. All the documents he produced and tendered did not match his name at birth”, Oyetibo submitted.

He also argued that the case provided a unique opportunity for the Supreme Court to make a pronouncement on “the new legal regime introduced by section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022”.

According to the Appellant, the section provided that any aspirant that participated in the primary of a political party and has reasonable ground to believe that any information given by his political party’s candidate, in relation to the constitutional requirement for qualification for the election was false, could approach the court to challenge the eligibility of such candidate.

“My lords, the new electoral law has introduced a zero-tolerance policy for the submission of false documents by any aspirant.

“Our position is that the 1st Respondent, having supplied false information and submitted dubious certificates, is legally precluded from participating in the election.

“My lords will find conclusively from the evidence before this court that he submitted false documents, in relation to section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended”, Oyetibo added.

On his part, Oborevwori’s counsel, Damian Dodo (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.

He argued that the extant provision of the law is that the sort of allegations the Appellant levelled against him, must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dodo further argued that there was no relief before the trial court for the said documents his client submitted to the PDP to be declared as false or forged.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the appeal and reinstate the judgement of the Court of Appeal that recognised his client as the authentic candidate of the PDP for the governorship contest.

Also, the PDP, through its lawyer, A. L. Aliyu (SAN), urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal.

PDP argued that sections 177 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, made exhaustive provisions regarding the issue of qualification of candidates for an election.

“Submission of a forged document to a political party is not a constitutional ground for disqualification. The ground for disqualification is the submission of a false document to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“The Appellant did not tarry or wait for the party to submit the name of the 1st Respondent, for his action to crystalise. His suit was premature”, PDP argued.

While the INEC was cited as a Respondent in the matter, THEWILL reports that the Electoral Commission was, however, not represented by any lawyer at the proceedings.