Breaking News: Lalong Loses Round One At Election Tribunal
The Governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the April 11th, 2015 General election, Senator GNS Pwajok has Petitioned election tribunal seeking the nullification of the election of Bar. Simon Bako Lalong who was elected under the platform of the All Progressive Congress APC.
The proceedings of the case was given a boost Wednesday as the Tribunal chairman Justice Johnson Candide said so far ten PDP witnesses testified before the court and that the pre-hearing, trial session report was relevant in the application brought before it through the counsels of GNS Pwajok, Yilji Gomwalk and the PDP in the application so presented.
Candide said that in the pre-trial the counsels had in their petition told the court that they will be presenting between thirty (30) to forty(40) witnesses and one other application while the counsels to the APC had said they would present 20 to 24 witnesses.
In his ruling, Justice Candide said the court had ordered that the petitioner be allowed additional ten days from the initial seven days to inspect and submit materials and thus wouldn’t come back to refuse accepting the materials so sought to enhance the chances of the petition.
He also averred that the Petitioner, GNS, Yilji and PDP had in the past, filed a motion in line with 2010 Electoral Act as amended to provide direction of the tribunal to obtain, analyze and present the forensic report of the materials to substantiate that there was no substantial compliance by INEC in the conduct, collation and the announcement of the election result which produced the defendants, Simon Lalong and the APC.
In looking at the Five Prayers of the petitioner, the tribunal Judge said it is in place to allow the GNS/Yilji. And PDP counsels submit their reports which will be presented by the Ademola Oyewale, the witness earlier listed as A. O.
Justice Candide further posited in his ruling that since the petitioners informed the tribunal at the pre hearing that they would present the report and a motion at the trial proper and the tribunal had granted that order, it is only fair to allow them submit the report for which an order was granted.
He further stressed that the counsel to the second respondents, APC merely relied on paragraph of the petitioner’s application and cited a wrong quotation and cases and posit that a court does not make an order in vein considering section 151 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended. Adding that court had told the petitioner at the pre-hearing trial that they are at liberty to bring in a motion for the acceptance of forensic expert ps report and witness, thus prayers two and five were upheld since prayer one had been ordered.
The tribunal further ruled that the close scrutiny and paragraph 14 and 18 of the petitioner’s application will be contended with at the tribunal in addition to the forensic experts report from the seven local government areas applied for in paragraph 52 to 53 and the list of documents 29 to 38 which include; international observers report, the Nigeria Police force report, witness reports, photograph report, report of election results forensic expert report, report of telecommunication network, newspaper report and the card readers report.
On the three issues of argument raised by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents against the petitioners’ application on the materials to be presented, the denied answers to the report of the motion of the petitioner filled on the 28th June, 2015 and the 1st respondent’s denial and objection of the forensic expert’s report, the tribunal is satisfied with them. The Judge said finally on the issue of A.O (Adeola Olayewola) as a principal witness to the petition is also upheld will be called upon to testify.
On the findings of the tribunal, Justice Candide said the prevailing facts are different and on the cases cited, particularly that of Aregbesola vs Oyinlola, Oke vs Mimiko, the tribunal gives more emphasis on the side of law rather than technicality.
Responding, Chief Robert Clarke SAN, the leading counsel to the petitioners (GNS, Yilji and the PDP) said with the greatest respect, the ruling is a classic example of what a trial should be. He further hinted that in such a ruling, if you win, you know that you won through hard work and when you lose, you know you didn’t do well.
Clark SAN revealed that “in your pleadings, you don’t expose your evidence that was what we did. We had our witnessed and are now unveiling the principal witness. This is good for our your lawyers, thus we need the ruling so passionately to educate others”.