2 for Senatorial Election, 10 for House of Reps.
24 for State House of Assembly
By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Chairman of Oyo State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal, Justice J.G Abunsaga, has disclosed that the tribunal received 36 petitions in respect of elections into the National and State Assemblies in the state.
A breakdown of the petitions showed that two are on the Senatorial election while 10 are in respect of the House of Representatives poll.
The remaining 24 are for the state House of Assembly election. Justice Abusanga made the disclosure on Monday at the inaugural sitting of the three-member tribunal, promising to dispense with all the cases within the 180 days stipulated by the constitution.
Other members of the tribunal are Justices G.C Nnamani and A.N Suleiman. Justice Abundaga, however, sought the support of counsel handling briefs for petitioners, insisting their cooperation would determine the success of the tribunal.
He also cautioned that the tribunal would not tolerate playing to the gallery by some counsel, stressing that the tribunal would not tolerate any extra adjournment.
“We shall be firm on all issues. Election petition tribunal is time bound. Every petition filed must be heard and dispensed with within the 180 days stipulated by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended,” he said.
Chief Richard Ogunwole, SAN, who spoke on behalf of other counsel holding briefs at the tribunal, assured the tribunal of their cooperation, declaring that the counsel equally attach importance to the need to work within the stipulated period.
The legal practitioner sought the assistance of the tribunal to impress it on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) the need for the release of documents required by counsel to argue or defend their petitions.
Ogunwole said: “With due respect Sir, inasmuch as we are ready to cooperate with the tribunal, I believe there is need for the tribunal to impress it on the INEC and the REC on the need for them to release the documents in their custody. The papers are public property. Some lawyers were there. They were told the photocopy machine is not working. Since Thursday, INEC has been closing its office.
“INEC wants to create a bottleneck. The document is a public document. I don’t think INEC should take public holiday and lock up the place because time has started counting. INEC and REC should take note and cooperate.”
WESTERN POST understands that the state governorship tribunal will be inaugurated later and only former governor and Accord governorship candidate in the election, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, filed a petition to challenge the result of the election.