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Presidential candidate walks out on tribunal

….Alleges bias in suit against Yar’Adua

By  Ise-Oluwa Ige
The flag-bearer of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), in the 2007 presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, yesterday,
in Abuja, walked out on a five-member Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting afresh on his petition
challenging the electoral victory of President Umaru Yar’Adua in the poll.

That was after he loudly protested the handling of his case by the panel of five justices contrary to the clear
order of the Supreme Court to the effect that his petition should be heard urgently and on its merit.

Owuru, a lawyer, had alleged that the Court of Appeal sitting as Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was
assisting the respondents in the case to frustrate hearing of his petition against President Yar’Adua’s election on
its merit as ordered by the Supreme Court.

He had alleged that instead of going ahead to examine the merits of his petition against the emergence of President
Yar’Adua as the winner of the flawed 2007 April poll, he said the panel of justices was still insisting on hearing
applications from INEC and Yar’Adua touching on technicalities which aims were purely to frustrate the hearing of
the case.

He said his patience was exhausted by the conduct of the justices of the appellate court, particularly with regard
to deliberate flouting of the order of the Supreme Court which directed it to hear the case urgently and on its

He then walked out on the justices.

But his junior counsel who announced appearances with him waited behind to watch how the proceedings would end in
the case.

Owuru’s burning anger against the justices of the court was lit yesterday when Chief Oluwole Olanipekun (SAN), the
lead counsel to President Yar’Adua, brought an application challenging the competence of his petition to which the
justices of the court agreed to hear.

Olanipekun was surprised at the conduct of Owuru, saying he was misinterpreting the order of the Supreme Court.

He said the fact that the apex court had ordered that the case be heard expeditiously and on its merit did not mean
that it should be heard without any regard for the practice direction and the rules of the court.


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