Tribunal warns parties not to attempt to influence panel

The Taraba Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday warned parties not to attempt to influence members of the panel.

The chairman of the tribunal, Justice M.O. Adewara, gave the warning in his inaugural speech.

The tribunal, relocated from Jalingo to Abuja.
“The Warning becomes imperative because the tribunal’s decisions will be based solely on the evidence before it and the applicable law.

“Any attempts to influence either the tribunal or its members would not only be resisted but also be exposed.
“Our decisions shall be based solely on the evidence led before us and the applicable law.

“You need not attempt to influence the tribunal or its members as any such attempt will not only be resisted but same will be exposed,” Justice Adewara warned.

The chairman submitted that election petition matters were sui generis and as such time bound.
He noted that by the provisions of Section 285(6) of the 1999 Constitution an election tribunal shall deliver its judgment within 180 days from the date of filing of the petition.

While soliciting the cooperation of counsel appearing before it with a view to discharging its duties creditably and effectively, the chairman stated that the only petition before it had entered the second month of its lifespan.

He stated: “We have it on record that the petition before this tribunal was filed on 29th March, 2019 meaning that we are already almost at the end of 2nd month of the six months period prescribed for hearing and determination of the petition.

“This being the case, it behoves on us all to cooperate and work very hard to enable us meet the deadline.”
He urged counsel to punctual in court as well as being brief and clear in the presentation of their respective cases as provided by the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

Justice Adewara also declared that the tribunal would not tolerate frivolous and unwarranted applications for adjournment, assuring that the tribunal members would abide by the oaths of office to which they had subscribed.
He said: “we will abide by the oaths of office to which we have subscribed and do justice to all without fear, or favour, affection or ill will.”

NAN reports that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress  in the March 9 governorship election in Taraba State, Abubakar Sani Danladi and the party had approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Governor Darius Ishaku of the People’s Democratic Party.

The petitioners claimed that the governor’s was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast in the election.
They further claimed that the governor’s election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

The petitioners also claimed that Ishaku’s election was invalid by reasons of corrupt practices.
Joined as respondents in the petition, are the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Governor Ishaku.
Meanwhile, the tribunal has adjourned its sitting till June 10 for hearing of respondents applications.