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Okowa vs Emerhor: Okowa opens defence; as witnesses affirm victory

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

Delta State governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, Monday, formally opened his defence in the petition filed at the Delta State governorship election petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the state capital.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate in the governorship election in the state, Chief Great Ogboru is challenging Okowa’s victory at the polls.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the second respondent witness Festus Ovie Agas , under examination, by Okowa’s counsel, Mr. Alex Izyon (SAN), told the tribunal that from the election results from INEC records, that Okowa scored the highest votes cast during the election to emerge the winner at polls in the state.

Agas said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s victory in the governorship election did not come as a surprise because PDP has always won its elections in the state as the state is a PDP controlled state since 1999 to date, affirming that it was a continuation of a pattern of victory in Delta state politics

He further stated that the victory of Okowa at the polls is a further confirmation of PDP dominance in Delta state political space, as PDP won 23 seats out of the 29 seats of the state House of Assembly.

He told the tribunal that he cast his vote as a good citizen during the elections at Oteri town, in unit 1 of word 2/6 of Ughelli North local government area. He said most of the political parties had their agents in the polling units where he followed the due process of INEC accreditation which culminated into his voting in the presence of all security agents deployed to man election.

He also told the tribunal that although, the card reader did not fail while he was been accredited to vote but that there were few instances where the card reader failed and the INEC officials were instructed by their superiors to resort to the use of manual accreditations through the use of the voters register, adding that PDP also won over whiningly in the Presidential election in the state.

Also, under examination by the INEC , PDP and Okowa’s counsels; Dr. Demain Dodo (SAN), Timothy Kehinde (SAN) and Alex Izyon (SAN) respectively, the first respondent witness Mr. Ikechukwu Akuzor, a local government collation officer for PDP, told the tribunal that he stood by all the depositions in his statement on oath.

He said from his observation during the governorship election in the state, election material and results he collected were not tempered with, adding that the result of the election is a true reflection of the wishes and aspiration of the Ndokwa people.

Meanwhile, the tribunal had earlier quashed an objection brought by APC and Otega’s counsel, Chief Thompson Okpoko challenging the moves by Counsel to Okowa, Mr. Izyion (SAN) to tender CTC of election results to the tribunal through the witnesses.

But the three man panel of tribunal chairmed by Justice Nasiru Gunmi held that sought to be tendred were relevant and will help to advance the course of justice in the matter. The objection the petitioners were therefore over ruled while documents were admitted and marked as exhibits before the tribunal. Further hearing on the matter has been fixed for 15th September, 2015.

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