TheSupreme Court has scheduled October 21 for the judgment in the dispute over who should contest in Delta State's next governorship election on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
A five-member panel by Justice Amina Augie announced the date after entertaining arguments from lawyers to parties in the appeal that was filed by David Edevbie against the August 29 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The Court of Appeal's judgment, it had reversed the July 7 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which voided the nomination ofSheriff Oborevwori, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
Sheriff Oborevwori came first in the party's governorship primary that was held on May 25. Still, Edevbie challenged Oborevwori's nomination, claiming that he (Oborevwori) submitted false documents to the PDP, which he was not supposed to be allowed to participate in the primary.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Federal High Court, in a judgment on July 7, 2022, upheld Edevbie's claims and voided Oborevwori's nomination. However, this decision was reversed on August 29, 2022, by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
Oyetibo argued that, contrary to PDP and Oborevwori's contention, the suit was commenced properly at the trial court via an originating summons in compliance with the practice direction issued by the Chief Judge.
He urged for the court to uphold the trial court's findings and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Lawyers to Oborevwori and the PDP – A. M.Aliyu (SAN) and Damian Dodo (SAN) prayed the court to dismiss the appeal.
They argued, among others, that the suit by Edevbie was premature because it was filed before Oborevwori's alleged false documents were submitted to INEC (the Independent National Electoral Commission) by the PDP.
Aliyu said: (the PDP) is placed in a peculiar situation. An aspirant at the primary scored 500, and the other scored 100. Still, the trial court wanted to sponsor the less popular candidate.
We are in the business of winning the election, so we won't prefer the less popular candidate.
"The submission of false documents to a political party is no grounds for disqualification," Aliyu said, adding that a candidate could only be disqualified when they are found to have submitted false documents to INEC and not to his party."
Aliyu added that Edevbie should have waited for the documents to be submitted to INEC. Hence, the suit is premature, adding that the submission required for disqualification is when the documents are submitted to INEC.
Aliyu also faulted the mode of commencing the suit at the trial court, arguing that since the plaintiff made a criminal allegation of forgery, he ought to prove beyond reasonable doubt by calling witnesses to testify.
He argued that Edevbie ought to have commenced the suit via a writ of summons as against an originating summons, which would have required that the institutions that issued the alleged false academic documents are invited to either confirm or deny the said certificates.