By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Pre- hearing conference on the petition filed by Accord Party Senatorial Candidate in the last March 28, 2015 National Assembly election in Oyo State, Chief Bisi Ilaka, challenging the election of Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, will begin on Tuesday at the Presidential / National Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice J.G Abundaga, gave the order on Monday after declaring that the electoral Act encouraged the tribunal not to shut its doors at parties before the tribunal.
The tribunal was expected to give its ruling on a motion by the declared winner of the election, Senator Sunmonu seeking to dismiss another motion filed by Chief Ilaka who wanted the tribunal to upturn her victory as senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District.
Senator Sunmonu, through her counsel, Tola Oshoobi, had said she had filed the motion to dismiss Chief Ilaka’s motion on the grounds that it did not comply with the provision of the electoral act regarding time of submission and issues raised therein.
Justice Abundaga, while reviewing the submission of Senator Sunmonu’s counsel and that of Chief Ilak on the petition, however implored all the parties to allow fair hearing, observing that some of the issues raised by the counsel are pure technicalities and administrative matters.
He implored the parties to be wary of the fact that the 180 days allocated to the tribunal to dispense with the election petition is fixed, calling for cooperation from the counsel.
The counsel thereafter told the tribunal of their readiness for the hearing of the election petition proper. Justice Abundaga consequently directed that the pre- hearing conference on the petition would commence on Tuesday.
Barrister O.M. Omoloye, who led a team of counsel for Chief Ilaka and Accord Party, in his remarks, expressed appreciation to Justice Abundaga and other members of the election panel for the mature way they have been handling issues arising from the petition, assuring them of his cooperation and that of his colleagues.