Adeola Oladele, Ibadan –
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan has fixed June 23 for the pre-hearing session in a petition filed by Senator Rasidi Ladoja, challenging the victory of Governor Abiola Ajimobi as the Oyo State Governor.
The tribunal Chairman, Honourable Justice FC Obieze fixed the date after listening to counsel of both the petitioner and respondent on Thursday.
Senator Ladoja of Accord petitioned the tribunal, challenging the victory of Governor Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 11 governorship election.
Also joined in the petition were the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Rufus Akeju the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Tribunal, led by Justice Obieze said that a lot of time has been wasted as a result of difficulty in serving the parties.
Obieze said that some of the parties involved in the tribunal were yet to file some of their processes, adding that the tribunal would not entertain any application, seeking for extension of time in filling any process.
The Judge also said that there was no technicality in election petition cases and whoever that would be a winner would be based on merit.
He said that the sitting hour for the tribunal would be different from the usual court sitting and asked the counsel to agree on the convenient time of starting the proceeding each day.
In his contribution, the lead counsel to Ladoja and Accord, Mr Richard Ogunwole (SAN), and the laed counsel to Ajimobi, Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said that the counsel could not dictate to the court.
They said that the decision of the court would be final and would be bidding on all counsel, saying lawyers wait for the court and not the court waiting for the lawyers.
They urged the court to pick anytime that would be convenient for proper hearing of the case.
However, counsel to APC, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the INEC’s counsel, Mr Adeboye Sobanjo said that their opinions were contrary to the submission of the other counsel. They urged the court to fix the time of commencement for each day of proceeding to 10.am because of the counsel which are not domiciled in Ibadan.
The counsel urged the court to fix the commencement of the break time to 2.30 pm which would end by 3.30pm, except Friday that the break time would be 1:30pm and end by 2:30pm, a proposal which the court accepted.