The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Cross River State, has cautioned parties and their counsels to be time-conscious and eschew delay in taking any step to minimise self-induced applications for adjournments.
Chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice AliyuMayaki, made these remarks on Wednesday in Calabar, at the commencement of proceedings of the tribunal.
According to Mayaki, two petitions were filed, challenging the election and declaration of Governor- elect, Prof. Benedict Ayade, who contested the election held on 11th of April, 2015 under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It would be recalled that one of the petitions was filed by Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo and the Labour Party while the second was by Pastor Sylvester Nsa and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Mayaki disclosed that by virtue of section 285 (6) of the constitution as amended, judgment in governorship petition election must be delivered within 180 days from the date of filing of the petition. Consequently, the judge urged “the petitioners and their respondents, especially their counsels, to appreciate the fact that time is of essence in proper determination of petitions.”
The tribunal assured the parties of a friendly environment for litigation, due observance of rules which is expected to be reciprocated and fair judgment “without fear or favour within the time limit.”
Furthermore, Justice Mayaki called on both the “petitioners and respondents to monitor and control their supporters at the tribunal to avoid rowdiness and over-crowding while the tribunal sits.”
Speaking with Daily Times, Counsel for Labour Party, Busuyi Olusegun said “the ball has been set rolling”. He, however, expressed optimism that at the end of the day, his client will come out victorious.
No date was fixed for next sitting by the tribunal.