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On Friday, November 24, 2023, the Lagos Division of Court of Appeal dismissed the petition filed by Senator Ovie Omo- Agege, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the judgment of the Delta State Election Petitions Tribunal which upheld the victory of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori as Governor of Delta State. The appellate court dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The petitions of the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Kenneth Gbagi, and that of the Labour Party (LP), Ken Pela suffered similar fate as that of Omo-Agege.
The Appeal Court
The Court of Appeal threw out their petitions and declared Oborevwori as winner of the March 18 governorship poll in Delta state. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Governor Oborevwori winner of the election on March 20 prompting the petitioners to approach the election Tribunal to seek redress. But they lost in their bid as Sheriff, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the day.
The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, had earlier on September 29, confirmed the election of Oborevwori as the duly elected governor of the state. In its judgment, the three-member tribunal, led by Justice C. H. Ahuchaogu, dismissed the petition filed by the APC candidate for lack of merit.
Faith at work
As it turned out, expectations from the Omo-Agege camp that the Appeal Court otherwise was forlorn. And for majority of Deltans who came out to vote on March 18, it was an outcome they had expected as they knew the appellants stood no chance. How could anyone have expected a different outcome after Governor Oborevwori roundly defeated his opponents at the polls?
After all, the results from the governorship election in Delta state remain unassailable. So how could anyone be thinking of an upset or that the Court of Appeal would give victory to Omo- Agege as his supporters were expecting? Results declared by INEC showed that Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori scored 360,234 votes, Omo-Agege scored 240,229 votes and Ken Pela trailed with a distant 48,047 votes. Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came fourth with 11,021 votes, while Gbagi, who is one of the petitioners, scored a paltry 56 votes.
It is significant to note that Oborevwori won 21 out of the 25 local governments in the state. Omo- Agege won only four local governments, all from his Delta Central Senatorial zone. Sheriff won Oshimili North, Oshimili South, Aniocha North, Aniocha South, Ika North East, Ika South, Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Ukwuani, Ethiope West, Ethiope East and Sapele. Others are Okpe, Warri South, Warri North, Warri South West, Bomadi, Patani, Burutu, Isoko South and Isoko North. Omo Agege, on the other hand, won Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Udu and Uvwie local government areas.
As senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District before the governorship election it would mean that Omo-Agege could only garner votes from four out of the eight local government areas in his zone. Other than that abysmal record, he was trounced by Oborevwori in the two other Senatorial Districts of Delta North and Delta South. It is also significant to note that the election in Ughelli North, which is Omo-Agege’s local government, was characterised by alleged electoral malpractices, including vote buying, ballot stuffing and outright falsification of figures.
The most disturbing irregularities in the Delta governorship polls were recorded at Evwreni community, where thugs went on rampage, attacked and wounded INEC officials, destroyed over three BVAS machines and set electoral materials on fire, among other heinous crimes.
With this record failure at the March 18 elections, how could any of the appellants have been hopeful of causing an upset