Mr. Kennedy Pela, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Delta State, has taken legal action to challenge the dismissal of his petition by the state election tribunal at the Court of Appeal in Asaba.
The three-man tribunal, presided over by Justice C.H. Ahuchaogu, had struck out Pela’s petition, which was marked EPT/DL/Gov/01/2023, on the grounds of filing the pre-hearing notice prematurely. The petition contested the outcome of the polls and named the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ovie Omo-Agege, as respondents.
Pela and the Labour Party have filed a three-ground appeal, seeking to overturn the ruling of the tribunal. They are requesting the appellate court to set aside the tribunal’s decision and issue an order for the appellants’ action to be remitted back to the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Asaba for a hearing on its merits.
The appeal contends that the tribunal made an error in misinterpreting the relevant laws and principles regarding the application for the issuance of a pre-hearing notice, as in Form T7007, which led to the dismissal of the petition. They argue that the tribunal misapplied the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Electoral Act, of 2022.
The case at the Court of Appeal is being closely watched, as its outcome may have significant implications for the disputed election results in Delta State. As the legal proceedings continue, both the petitioner and the respondents await a decision that will determine the future course of the governorship dispute.
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