From BUHARI B BELLO, Jos
THE National and House of Assembly election petitions tribunal in Plateau State has been inaugurated to look into the petitions filed before it by aggrieved parties in the last Plateau Northern Senatorial zone bye-election.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice, Abiodun A. Adebara, along with two other justices, said at the inaugural meeting that the tribunal was constituted to hear the petitions arising from the bye-election into the senatorial seat for Plateau North Senatorial District held on October 6, which was alleged to have been characterized by irregularities perpetrated by the ruling PDP in the state.
“Two petitions were filed against the said bye-election. The duty of the tribunal is to determine the said petitions,” and “election petitions by their very nature are, sui generis (in a class of their own). The subject matter of the petitions before us is to deliver its judgment,” he said.
Justice Adebara, explained that already a total of 54 days out of the stipulated 180 days has elapsed, noting that the counsels should remain committed, while warning them that the tribunal will not entertain unnecessary delay.
“Counsels are therefore reminded to avoid request for unnecessary adjournment. On our own part, as judicial officers, we are under an oath to administer justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” he said.
The two petitions before the tribunal emanated from the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), as well as the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) along side their candidates, Barristers Tonny Yunana Agaga and Bala Bako, respectively, challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), being the 1st respondent over what they alleged to have been unlawful exclusion of their candidates and party logos on the ballot papers.
Also joined in the suit are the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Senator Gyang Pwajok, as 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.
The petitioners are seeking the tribunal to annul the election and subsequently return of Senator Pwajok, and order INEC, to conduct a fresh election including their candidates and party logos on the face of the ballot papers.
INEC had in October; cited section 87 of the electoral act to disqualify the two candidates on the premise that the two parties did not affirm their respective candidates before the electoral umpire.
From BUHARI B BELLO, Jos