By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN-CITY—THE Chairman of the Election Petition Tribunal in Edo State, Justice Paul Elechi, Monday, warned lawyers appearing before the tribunal to stop their frequent applications for adjournments, saying “we, members of this tribunal did not come to this state with our wives, so we need to seriously hear the cases within the time frame and go back to our families.”
He gave the warning while hearing the petition by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, House of Representatives for Owan West/East Federal constituency in the last elections, Mr Johnson Abolagba, against the election of Mr Pally Iriase of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, who was declared winner of the election.
Counsel to Mr Abolagba, Mr Edeki, had appealed to the tribunal to give counsel more time to properly access the election materials brought to the tribunal as evidence, so as to prepare well for the cases.
Meanwhile, Mr Edeki apologised to the tribunal and Mr Iriase over his earlier allegation that he (Iriase) had used the police to harass his client. Three chieftains of the PDP in the area, Chief Ayo Odifiri, Chief F. Imafoje and Mr Sunday Bello, who were named as witnesses to the PDP, in the petition by Abolagba had petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, alleging that their signatures were forged by the petitioner.
The PDP leaders had also dragged Mr Abolagba before an Edo State High Court sitting in Auchi, claiming d N20million as damages.
Following the petition Abolagba and his lawyer were invited to the police command for interrogation. He, however, apologised for accusing Iriase of harassing his client, while the case was adjourned till July 27.