By Yakubu Busari, Jos
The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Plateau state for the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition has sought for a cordial working relationship between counsels as the Tribunal said it received 20 petitions.
The Chairman of the Tribunal ,Her Lordship Hon. Justice’s O.O Akeredolu in her inaugural speech said that the committee is inaugurated in compliance with the provisions of section 285 (1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in section 133 of the electoral Act 2010.
According to her, two senatorial elections were challenged, five house of representative seats and 13 state houses of Assembly seat.
Justice Akeredolu warned counsels that unnecessary arguments should be best on point of law will be deferred to final addresses, live issues for trial will be settled within the period allotted to pre-trial conference.
She stressed further that the time frame allotted for pre-trial conference is 14 days of its commencement so frivolous adjournments will not be tolerated.
The tribunal chairman urged the parties to consider setting their differences amicably, the idea is welcome, and no terms of settlement would be required.
She reminded all petitioners that the tribunal do not have the luxury of time so we will therefore sit from day to day including Saturday and with your consent on public holidays.
Speaking on relationship between the Bar and the Bench, the chairman noted that respect begets respect is what is commonly said, the tribunal is prepared to accord and extend fellowship to all. We hereby assure that this is a level playing ground and justice will done without fear or favour .
Ledak D. Dafer commended the members of the tribunal for their quality proceeding.
He called on NBA members to learn to bring constructive argument that enable them discharge the duty effectively without favour.
Dafer appealed for fair hearing by seeking the cooperation of the jurists to bring the wealth of experience to bear.
The Ministry of Justice was represented by Justin Manomi the director in charge of legal drafting Plateau state, welcome the tribunal chairman and promised to accord them the necessary support so as the complete the sitting within time frame .
She also sought for the understanding of the counsels to exchange the full respect to tribunal practice evidence Act 2011 .
It is therefore desirable that counsel will acquaint themselves with these pieces of legislation to ensure smooth proceedings, he explained.