BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA – THE three-member Anambra State Election Petition Tribunal, headed by Justice Usman Bwala, with Justices T. I. Cocodia and M. A. Adeigbe as members, at its maiden sitting in Awka weekend, warned against any attempt to bribe its members, insisting that their assignment was to deliver true justice.
No fewer than 18 petitions for the state and National Assembly polls had been filed before the tribunal which, according to him, has only 180 days to conclude its assignment.
Spicing his speech with quotations from the Bible, tribunal chairman, Justice Bwala said: “We are going to work with everybody. We don’t even want anybody to appreciate us.
“We are here to deliver justice. Do no attempt to bribe us either in naira or in hard currency or going through our spouses and relations.
“No lawyer should try to call us either on phone or any other means. Do not attempt to give us even writing materials because we do not need them.”
As part of measures to avoid unnecessary delays and adjournments, the tribunal gave counsels only 10 days to close their cases, including presentation of their witnesses, adding that they might have to sit on Sundays to gain time.
Bwala said the number of election petitions in Anambra State was the highest so far in the country, adding that while many states recorded below 10 petitions, Anambra State had up to 18 for the National Assembly.
Among petitions filed before the tribunal were those involving the former presidential aide and senator-elect for Anambra South Senatorial Zone, Dr. Andy Uba and his colleague for Anambra North and former Minister of State for Transport, Prince John Emeka.
Uba, who was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is being challenged by another PDP senatorial aspirant for the area, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu who claimed to be the authentic candidate of the PDP.