The appeal filed by Ikie Aghwarianovwe against the Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday due to lack of merit.
Aghwarianovwe, a gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, had sought the disqualification of the governor on the grounds of alleged document falsification.
In October 2022, he took the matter to court, claiming that Oborevwori had submitted false documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to secure qualification for the 2019 House of Assembly election in Delta state.
Justice Emmanuel Agim delivered a unanimous judgment on behalf of the apex court, stating that the appellant had failed to sufficiently prove his case.
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The court determined that the differential in names and an error in the date of birth on a certificate, which were presented as evidence of falsity, did not meet the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Consequently, the appeal was dismissed for lacking merit. Furthermore, the court ordered Aghwarianovwe to pay N3 million each as the cost of the suit to Oborevwori and his party, the PDP, who were co-defendants in the case.
Initially assigned to Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the case was later transferred to Asaba, the capital of Delta state.
Aghwarianovwe claimed that Oborevwori was ineligible to contest the 2023 gubernatorial election due to the alleged forged documents.
However, Oborevwori and the PDP argued that the suit was statute barred, as the documents in question were submitted to INEC in 2018 for the 2019 general election and could not be used as grounds for disqualification in 2023.
The trial court upheld the defendants’ objection, ruling that Chief Ikie had failed to substantiate the allegations of forgery. Dissatisfied with the judgment, Aghwarianovwe appealed to the Court of Appeal, but the court also ruled in favor of Oborevwori, resolving the issues in his favor.