From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, Kenneth Gbagi, has filed a three-ground petition at the election tribunal challenging the declaration of Sheriff Oborevwori of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the Governor-elect for the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Gbagi, a former Minister of State for Education, is the first aggrieved governorship candidate to file petition challenging the return of Oborevwori by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to Gbagi’s counsel Magaji Mato (SAN), the over 79 pages petition is founded on three grounds of ineligibility of other candidates, non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and gross irregularities during the conduct of the election.
“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 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 evidences to prove the case. We have so much confidence in the judiciary, and that justice would be done,” Mato said.
In the result declared, Gbagi trailed in distant fifth position with 4,639 votes.
Oborevwori of the PDP scored 360,234 to be returned as elected. Ovie Omo-Agege of the All Progressive Congress (APC) polled 240,229 votes; Ken Pela of Labour Party polled 48,047 while Great Ogboru of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) secured 11,021 votes.
But speaking after filing his petition, Gbagi alleged that the votes were merely allocated, noting his objective was to remove rascals and persons who have no business contesting governorship election in Delta State.
“If you declare result that has nothing to do with BVAS, the result stand cancelled. The fact will speak for itself. Maybe people thought that it is business as usual, we did not go into the election for joke, we meant what we wanted to do, we planned for it. Don’t forget that I founded the PDP in Delta State in 1999, so I have taken my time.
“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, purposeful character.”
Gbagi alleged that his opponents whom he insisted, were not qualified for the contest, engaged in voter inducement with vote buying, sharing of food and wrappers to the people.
“These are part of what the Electoral Act spelt out to be a crime. My petition has encompass all of that and I believe strongly that the judiciary would do what they ought to do,” he added.
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