The Supreme Court of Nigeria has today, Friday, February 02, 2012 asserted that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was duly elected as Governor of Delta State in the April 2011 gubernatorial poll.
The apex court, had in a whole judgment, invalidated the Appeal Court ruling which shaped the substratum of Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru’s appeal to challenge Uduaghan’s victory at the April 2011 poll at the Supreme Court.
Justice Mahmud Mohammed, in the Supreme Court judgement, faulted the Appeal Court ruling on January 05, 2012 and reservation for details of the ruling for January 27, 2012, saying the Court of Appeal has no power to defer reasons for its judgment on a governorship election petition matter when it was not the last court.
Recall that the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Datijo Mohammed, had ruled that the grounds of appeal by Ogboru lacked merit and subsequently dismissed it, while the cross appeal was upheld.
“Judgment and reasons are inseparable and therefore the court of appeal was wrong to have given its judgment on a different date other than the day it delivered the judgment,” he ruled, adding, “From 11th January to 27th January is more than 60 days allowed by the constitution.”
The apex Court therefore ruled the Appeal Court judgment was null and void and as such Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan remains duly elected as governor of Delta state after upholding the judgment of the Delta Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which had earlier affirmed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaration of Uduaghan as Governor.
Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), had appealed against the judgment of the lower tribunal at Asaba, claiming that the tribunal was wrong in declaring Dr. Uduaghan as the winner of the April 2011 governorship election in the state.
Meanwhile, Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has expressed his determination to extend the hands of fellowship to all Deltans, including the opposition, to be part of the new move to develop the state.
Governor Uduaghan said this while reacting to the Supreme Court judgement which upheld his victory at the April 2011 gubernatorial election in Delta state.
He expressed happiness and gave God the glory, saying that the declaration by the apex court has become a challenge for every Deltan to work in unity to achieve a common goal and noted that the people of Delta state needed to harness their potentials in human and material resources together to move the state forward.
He said it has been a long-drawn legal battle which has finally come to an end as far as issues of elections and the judiciary is concerned.
Reacting on behalf to the Supreme Court judgement on behalf of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is attending the burial ceremony of late Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at Nnewi, the state Commissioner for Information, Barr Chike Ogeah said, “this final victory is one ordained by God for the total empowerment of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan to consolidate his giant development and transformational strides in Delta state without looking over his shoulder, an endorsement of God’s finger on the affairs of Delta state.”
Also, Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN) has described the Supreme Court decision that affirmed the election of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as a springboard for the development and transformation of the state.Utuama at a victory thanksgiving service held at the Government House Chapel on Friday noted that the victory not only ended the distraction that had faced the administration but that it has strengthened investors confidence in the state.
He observed that every potential investor wanting to do business in an economy would take the stability of the administration into consideration before committing his or her fund, noting that the series of litigations the administration faced were capable of drawing investors back.
“We would have moved faster than we are in the development of this state but for this distraction. Power comes from God and whoever that is challenging the administration is challenging God.
“For the opposition what you have caused this state for these years is better imagined. This has driven away investors because they take political risks into consideration. For the past years serious investors who have one business or the other with the state have been waiting for today. We are going to have more investors because investors are now convinced of the stability of this government,” he said.
Utuama recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led administrations in Delta State has had over 20 legal victories since 2003.
“The April election was contentiously contested. We had seven different litigations and one after the other God frustrated all of them. Today God has completed what He started in the life of PDP, in the life of Delta State and in the life of this government. It is therefore befitting for us to hold this thanksgiving. But this is the very beginning. We will continue to have more thanksgiving.”
Utuama thanked those that had supported the administration not to relent in that regard while urging the opposition to bury the hatchet and join hands with the Uduaghan administration in moving the state forward.