The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, has commenced hearing of the petition of the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Olorogun Barr. Kenneth Gbagi, challenging the declaration of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), flag bearer, Sheriff Oborevwori winner of the March 18, 2023, poll.
The expected legal battle by the SDP candidate, disputing the outcome of the 2023 governorship poll has fully commenced from today, June 1, 2023, after the tribunal adjourned on May 24th 2023.
Gbagi, a former Minister of State for Education, is challenging the eligibility of Oborevwori, that of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ovie Augustine Omo-Agege, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, Labour Party (LP), Ken Pela and their Deputies.
Head of the tribunal, Justice C. H Ahuchaogu directed the Respondents in the case to file and served the petitioner with their applications on or before June 5, 2023.
Ahuchaogu, after listening to all the parties, adjourned till June 13 for the continuation of the petition.
Addressing journalists shortly after the adjournment, the led counsel to the petitioner, Mr Magaji Mato Ibrahim (SAN) said the substantial part of the Pre-hearing has been conducted today, June 1, 2023.
While expressing delight over the outcome of the proceeding, Gbagi’s lead counsel said, “The pre-trial section had commenced and all parties have responded. What is left are the motions that are pending which will be taken in the next adjustment day”.
“All processes for filling, exchange will be done on that day. So, nothing will stop the hearing of the applications, those that are pending and other will be filed.
“The ground as it contains in the Art, is in section 134 which is the issue of qualifications. That is to say “We are challenging the qualifications of all candidates”.
“We are saying that as at the time they contested the election, they were not qualified and because of that the person that won and those who did not win should be stand to be disqualified by INEC and once the disqualification is succeeded, we are saying the court should call for fresh election and then only our candidate and his party will remain the only one to stand for the election”, he revealed.
It would be recall that the former Chairman, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, Gbagi had filed a 79 -page petition against governor Oborevwori and his party, PDP; Deputy Senate president, Ovie Omo Agege and APC; LP candidate Ken Pela and APGA candidate, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, calling for the disqualifications of all of them as he alleged that they were not qualified to contest the election in the first place.