The Election Petition tribunal in Oyo State Monday held its inaugural sitting with the Chairman, Justice J,G Abundaga warning the counsel to petitioners against any waste of time as it would not exceed it’s statutory 180 days to dispense with all matters brought before it.
Though the tribunal Chairman, who was flanked by two other members of the panel, Justices G.C Nnamani and A.H Suleiman, at the sitting held in the state High Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, sought the cooperation of petitioners and other stakeholders in following instructions and laid down procedure so as to make the job faster,
So far 35 cases were before the tribunal with Sen Ladoja challenging the result of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Leader of the House Hon Mulikat Akande of PDP challenging Hon Ebenezer Ogunwuyi,Sen Olufemi Lanlehin and Ilaka of Accord Party Challenging the victory of Hon Monsural Sumonu and Mr Soji Akanbi respectively among others
Meanwhile Head of the Senator Rasidi Ladoja counsel, Mr Richard Ogunwole (SAN), accused the state chapter of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of deliberate sabotage capable of wasting the time of the tribunal.
He alleged that INEC officials refused to make documents available to his junior lawyers who needed them to plead their case before the Tribunal.
“Time is of essence in this task. On Thursday, a team of lawyers were at the INEC office to get some documents. But unfortunately, the INEC staff only worked a few hours and shut down the premises. I was aware there was a public holiday on Friday, but I don’t think INEC staff should go on any holiday now, and they should also work on Saturday.
All we were asking from them was to make photocopies of certain documents.
“Need we inform INEC that these are public documents that need no prior authorisation from Abuja before they are made available? Nobody can know who won the election. My Lords, INEC needs to be told that time has started running and we have just 180 days. None of the counsel should be allowed to waste time too.”