•Adjourns till 23rd, 24th July for further hearing
Labour Party (LP) governorship aspirant in the last governorship election in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, on Friday made a dramatic u-turn during proceedings at the state governorship election petition tribunal when he hurriedly withdrew a motion –on –notice seeking to inspect election materials.
Ogboru, through his counsel, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), had approached the Tribunal urging it to compel Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) to make available and allow for inspection of materials used in the conduct of April governorship election in the state.
Ogboru , among other prayers in the motion also prayed the Tribunal to bar respondents in his petition (PDP and INEC) from participating or being present during the inspection , arguing that such will hinder the smooth adjudication of the matter.
While opposing the motion, lead counsel to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP, and INEC, Dr. Alex Izyion (SAN), represented by Mr. Ken Mozie, objected vehemently to the teams for the inspection, arguing that “we are not opposed to the motion to inspect the electoral materials but we want to be joined during the inspection”
Mozie further pointed out that “today’s motion is not the same motion of yesterday which came my way of ex-parte motion, the reliefs sought in this motions on notice have increased, and if we are not joined in the inspection, we will oppose it and we will need time to espouse our argument”.
‘We received the application, for reasons which I will indicate, we would required out time to oppose this application, to file our reaction, I say so because yesterday (Thursday) when there was an indication that they had an ex-parte motion, we had indicated we will not oppose, but we want joint inspection, and they indicated they will withdraw reliefs three and four, but today( Friday) they went back an filed a motion, not only have they increased the reliefs sought , they have expressly indicated that instead of joint inspection, they are asking for liberty to attend if we so desire”
He further stated that Ogboru’s motion indicated that “ an affidavit has been deposited by a lawyer saying that he has an experience that joint inspection will frustrate the inspection and trailer “arguing that “my lord my experience spanning over s decade have exposed the danger of allowing one party to unrestricted access to sensitive material, so we want time so that we join issues”.
It was at this point that, Ogboru through his counsel, Mr. Adesina, who was represented by Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo, quickly made a u-turn, informing the Tribunal of their desire to withdraw the petition, saying , “I plead your Lordship’s indulgence to withdraw this application”.
Consequent upon this ground, Tribunal Chairman, Mr. Nasiru Dunmi, who had earlier given three separate rulings from the day’s proceedings, struck out the motion.
In a similar ruling, Justice Gunmi also rejected the application made by All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, Olorogun O’tegar Emerhor , seeking for the extension of time from the Tribunal to enable him perfect some documentation.
Emerhor had earlier made the oral application at the commencement of proceeding through his counsel, Mr Thomson Okpoko (SAN) for extention of time. But the Tribunal chairman, Gunmi, over-ruled the application urging Emerhor to follow due process by filing a motion on notice to the effect.
This came after INEC and PDP’s legal team oppose the application for extension of time.
Justice Gunmi , also ruled that pre-hearing conference in the petition commenced since 23rd of June 2015, saying that all the Tribunal proceedings from that date till now should be deemed to be a pre-trial hearing in the petition.
Justice Gunmi, however, adjourned proceedings to 23rd and 24th of July 2015 for the continuation of pre-trial conference in the petition.