DELTA GUBER: SDP candidate, Gbagi drags Oborevwori to tribunal, files 79-page petition
…Asks tribunal to declare him as the only qualified candidate
The Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Delta state, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has filed a 79-page petition at the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, challenging the declaration of the Candidate Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori, as winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state.
Gbagi’s counsel, Magaji Mato,SAN, disclosed that the petition was hinged on three grounds. “We are maintaining three basic grounds; one is that all the other parties and their candidates are not qualified. Secondly, the election itself was not conducted in line with the Electoral Act 2022 as amended and other statutory provisions. Finally, it was marred with massive rigging and other electoral malpractices.
“We feel that these three grounds are adequately pleaded and we have provided facts and evidence to prove the case. We have so much confidence in the judiciary, and justice would be done,” he said
On his part, Gbagi alleged that those who attempted to contest the election with him were not qualified for the race, saying that his prayer was to “remove persons who have no business contesting governorship election in the state.
His words: “We have to get it right. We have lived in the world of deceit for too long; Delta State needs a renewed atmosphere of honesty, and purposeful character.”
“In the election, there was lots of malpractice, vote-buying, food being cooked for people, wrappers being bought for them, all of these are part of what the Electoral Act spelt out to be a crime. My petition has encompassed all of that and I believe strongly that the judiciary would do what they ought to do.
“If you declare a result that has nothing to do with the Bimodal Voters Verification System, BVAS, the result stands cancelled. The fact will speak for itself. Maybe people thought that it is business as usual, we did not go into the election for a joke, we meant what we wanted to do, we planned for it.”
In the petition, Gbagi is contending that as at the time of the election, Oborevwori was not qualified to run for the office of governor and also did not met the requirement to be elected and returned by majority of lawful votes.
Joined in the suit as co-defendants were INEC, PDP, All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and other governorship candidates in the state and their parties.
Gbagi is contending that aside Oborevwori, other candidates, including Omo-Agege and Great Ogboru of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and Ken Pela of the Labour Party, LP, were also not qualified to run for the office of governor in the state.
In his argument against Oborevwori declaration as governor-elect by INEC, Gbagi contended that Oborebwori in an attempt to meet the constitutional requirements of eligibility for the 2023 governorship election, presented a fake Declaration of Age/Affidavit in support of personal particulars in Form C.F.001.
He further averred that Oborevwori’s Statutory Declaration of Age/Affidavit deposed to in 2022 contains a different age contrary to what African Senior School Certificate, WASSC,, Dated June 1999 with Certificate Number 384793.
He further argued that Oborevwori lied under oath that he does not have Primary School Certificate, Secondary School Certificate, and his university degree, whereas, in 2018, he exhibited the same with his Form C.F.001.
Gbagi also argued that a suit challenging the qualification of Oborevwori to contest the election was filed and decided at the Federal High Court, Asaba based on forged credentials, contrary to the principle laid down by the supreme court in Saleh v. Abah, (2017) 12 (NWLR) PT. 1578 AT P. 100.
Gbagi is also asking the tribunal to declare him as the only qualified candidate for the election, nullify the certificate of return issued by INEC to Oborevwori and order INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to him as winner of the election.
In the alternative Gbagi also prayed the tribunal to order a fresh election due to irregularities that characterised the election and non compliance to the election guideline on the use of the BVAS.