Election Petition: Supreme Court dismisses Gbagi’s appeal against Oborevwori

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal brought before it by Chief Kenneth Gbagi against Delta State Governor, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, for being a waste of time, mere academic exercise, and lacking any utilitarian value.
In the appeal, Gbagi, a Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) filed the appeal against the decisions of the Election Petition Tribunal and Court of Appeal refusing to admit fresh evidence not pleaded or front loaded during trial.
Gbagi who claimed to have discovered new evidence to prove his petition, had made an application for the reopening of his case on the date fixed for adoption of final written addresses by the Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Asaba.
The Tribunal dismissed the aforesaid application for being incompetent, belated, and strange as the document he was trying to introduce was not pleaded in his petition.
The Tribunal proceeded to conclude the hearing of the petition and found that Gbagi’s claim of being the winner of the election was totally unfounded. The Tribunal also dismissed Gbagi’s claim that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori was not qualified to contest the election.
Not satisfied with the tribunal’s ruling, Gbagi filed an appeal against the tribunal’s refusal of his belated application to reopen his case.
The Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, held that the Tribunal rightly refused to reopen his case.
Still not satisfied, Gbagi proceeded to the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the issue of reopening his case.
PDP’s Counsel, Ekeme Ohwovoriole, (SAN) and Ayo Asala, (SAN) for Governor Oborevwori, had argued that the Appeal lacked merit because the tribunal had been dissolved.
In a unanimous judgment of the Apex
Court delivered by Justice John Inyang Okoro, the apex court held that the appeal was a complete waste of time, had become spent, academic and lacking usefulness
The Apex Court held that 180 days for hearing the petition had expired, and there is no tribunal existing to even hear the appeal since the tribunal has since been dissolved.
Gbagi’s lead counsel, Adeniyi Akintola, (SAN) had no option than to withdraw the appeal after realizing (based on the chastisement/hint of the Justices) that his appeal is academic exercise, lacks merit moreso, the fact that the tribunal had concluded its assignment.

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