*I’ll appeal verdict—Jang
BY TAYE OBATERU
Jos – The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Plateau State has rejected move by Governor Jonah Jang to strike out petition filed by his former deputy, Dame Pauline Tallen who was the Labour Party’s candidate in the April governorship election.
Jang had through his counsel sought to terminate the petition on ground that it did not conform to aspects of Electoral Act.
But ruling on the application yesterday, tribunal Chairman, Justice Joseph Jella said the petition satisfied provisions of the Act and struck out the application.
He said perceived lapses on part of the counsel should not be visited on the client, adding that the issue raised was technical and should not be allowed to truncate the case.
He therefore advised counsel to parties to prepare for the commencement of the substantive matter before the tribunal.
However, Jang’s counsel, Israel Olorundare, SAN, expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling, saying they would go to the Appeal Court for a proper interpretation of the law even as the substantive matter continues.
He told newsmen after the ruling that the issue raised on behalf of his client was not on technicality but on a fundamental issue of law.
He said: “Paragraph (15) sub paragraph (1) of the Electoral Law says one can apply within seven days after being served by the respondent. We served and they did not apply. Even paragraph 18 (3) and 18 (1) says that the matter should be dismissed. The tribunal itself was obliged by that paragraph that the petition itself should be dismissed. So that is not technicality. Even the Supreme Court said it may be very harsh but that is the provision of the law”.
On the other, Tallen’s counsel Ibrahim Jam-jam described the ruling as a plus for democracy adding, “this is a very robust and enlightened ruling by the tribunal. It is very rich and scholarly and it is a thing that we hope will go round our Judiciary.
“If you got right what the tribunal said in its ruling that the litigant has a lawyer but there are decisions of the Supreme Court that you don’t visit the sin of the lawyer on the litigant and in this case they said that counsel to the petitioner withdrew his application based on the advice of the tribunal”, he added.