By Tunde Oyekola in Osogbo
The Osun state governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in
Osogbo has declined ruling on the applications of the All Progressives Congress challenging the competence of the petition filled by the People’s Democratic Party against the victory of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Elizabeth Epkejime, who stated this while ruling on the competence of the court to hear the suit said all preliminary objections by any party would be heard during the trial.
At the tribunal on Monday were the petitioner, Senator Iyiola Omisore, and the immediate-past Governor of the State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Justice Ekpejime said the tribunal was ready to hear the case urging the petitioner’s and the defence’s counsel to cooperate so that all issues raised in the petitions would be decided within the time stipulated by law.
Counsel to the petitioner, Chief Chris Uche, had told the tribunal that his counsel would like to streamline his witnesses to five hundred by submitting another application for additional witnesses to prosecute the case.
Chief Uche also proposed five minutes for each witness to be
cross-examined to save time as well as slashing of ten day for the first and second respondents to defend their case.
Responding, counsel to Governor Aregbesola, Chief Akin Olujinmi, and that of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Femi Piero, agreed with the prayers of the petitioner to streamline his witnesses but disagreed with five minutes for cross examination of each witness especially where services of interpreters would be needed.
They also disagreed with the slashing of ten days for the first and
second respondents to defend their case, saying ten days stipulated by the law for each respondent should be strictly followed.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the proceedings, counsel to PDP, Chief Uche, expressed happiness at the decision of the tribunal.
Also speaking, Chief Olujinmi said the decision of the tribunal did
not indicate that the petition of PDP was competent.
The tribunal Chairperson, Justice Ekpejime, however, told all the parties to file their issues for formulation on or before Wednesday November 5, and adjourned sittings till Thursday November 6 when the tribunal would present the scheduling order for the hearing.