...Tribunal Fixes 3rd August for Continuation of Trial
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have again accused the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate in the just concluded governorship election in Delta State, Olorogun Otegar Emerhor of stalling trials in the on-going Delta State Election Petition Tribunal.
INEC and PDP spoke through its counsel, Mr. A.T Kehinde yesterday at the resumed hearing of the pre-hearing conference proceedings at the Delta State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Kehinde told the tribunal that counsel to APC and O’tega , Mr. Thomson Okpoko(SAN) was exploiting legal loopholes to frustrate the ongoing trail with the plethora of applications being brought before the tribunal, arguing that, “ my position with greatest respect is that ,justice delayed is justice denied, we must be giving a level playing ground to ventilate our clients position, his motion asking for better and further particulars have been caught by the previous ruling of this tribunal”.
Reacting to Kehinde’s submission, Mr. Okpoko argued that “ I don’t think it’s right to suggest that there is an insinuation, or there is a suggestion, or an impression, or a perception created that somebody is delaying hearing of this election petition , we have been coming and we have been getting with it , so we have agreed that the petition should be taken to Monday , Monday hear we came, so that is the position my lord”.
Okpoko had earlier told the Chairman of the three-man Tribunal, Justice. Nasiru Gunmi that he has six pending applications seeking the leave of the tribunal for an enlargement of time within which to produce further and better particulars, motions seeking to strike out some paragraphs of the respondent reply to the petition and an application to call additional witness.
He told the tribunals that the need for the extension of time was expedient as that will enable the court have modalities for the direction of the proceedings.
Justice Gunmi who used the opportunity to identify and harmonize all pending applications and motions from the petitioners and the respondents, in a ruling said some of the motions and applications, that will not lead to the termination of the tribunal , and were caught by the tribunal’s previous rulings will be taken at the pre-hearing session.
He subsequently adjourned further hearing on the matter to 3rd August 2015 for continuation of the pre-trial conference.
Three petitions are before the three-man tribunal headed by Justice Nasiru Gunmi, challenging the declaration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the April 11 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitions were filed by Chief Great Ogboru of Labour Party, Olorogun O'tega Emerhor of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Mr. Paul Isamade of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).