A violent crowd of party supporters has pulled down the entry doors of the Supreme Court in Abuja where judgement will be delivered on Friday in the Delta State PDP governorship dispute.
David Edevbie, a former Commissioner of Finance in the former governor James Ibori administration is locked in a battle with Sheriff Oborevwori, Delta State House of Assembly speaker over PDP’s (Nigeria) governorship ticket for the state’s governorship election in 2023.
With the dispute set to be laid to rest on Friday, the supporters of Messrs Edevbie and Oborevwori thronged the Supreme Court complex as early as 7 a.m.
Court security operatives battled in vain to control the crowd, but were overwhelmed as they pushed through the human barriers mounted at the Court entry doors.
Immediately they vandalised the doors, they trooped into the courtroom like bees, displacing journalists from the press gallery.
Mr Edevbie is alleging inconsistencies in the names on the academic certificates submitted by Mr Oborevwori to INEC.
According to Mr Edevbie, Mr Oborevwori used the names: Oborevwori, Sheriff, Francis and Orohwedor interchangeably in his certificates submitted to INEC in violation of the Nigerian constitution and the Electoral Act.
He contended that Mr Oborevwori was not eligible to participate in the primary election on the grounds of the alleged discrepancies in his academic qualifications.
The Federal High Court in Abuja in July nullified Mr Oborevwori’s candidacy while the Court of Appeal in Abuja restored his victory at the PDP primary.
Delivering judgement in the suit Taiwo Taiwo, the judge at the Federal High Court held that Mr Edevbie’s suit was meritorious as Mr Oborevwori failed to provide contrary evidence to contradict the claims in the suit.
But Mr Taiwo, held that it was premature to declare Mr Edevbie as the candidate of the party since no nomination has been officially made to INEC.
The judge also did not declare a fresh primary election to be conducted, saying he did not want to preempt the decision of the party.
However, the Court of Appeal voided and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court which had, on 7 July 2022, nullified Mr Oborevwori’s nomination on grounds of certificate forgery and perjury.
Peter Ige, who led the Court of Appeal three-member panel, held that Mr Taiwo’s judgment, which upheld certificate forgery against the Speaker, was a miscarriage of justice because the criminal allegations were not established as required by law.
Mt Ige held that claims against the Speaker were criminal in nature and must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The appellate court also held that Mr Edevbie, who filed the suit at the Federal High Court, ought to have approached the court via Writ of Summons to enable the resolution of disputes and not by originating summons where only affidavit evidence is required.
The judge said the allegations of certificate forgery and faking of documents against the Speaker were such that required witnesses from those who issued the certificates and the alleged fake documents.
The court, therefore, upheld the victory of the Speaker at the 25 May 25 primary election where he polled 590 votes to defeat Mr Edevbie who polled only 113 votes to come second.