May 7, 2015

Abia election tribunal begins sitting, warns against undue delay

Gov. Ikpeazu


By Anayo Okoli

UMUAHIA—Abia State National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal commenced sitting, yesterday, with the chairman, Justice Mohammed Wakili, warning lawyers against undue delay in prosecuting their matters through unnecessary adjournments.

According to Justice Wakili,  the tribunal has received 30 petitions for the national and state assembly elections in the state.

Wakili, who spoke at the inaugural sitting of the panel in Umuahia, said the tribunal would not tolerate waste of time so that  litigants not satisfied with the outcome of the tribunal could proceed to a higher tribunal in good time.

He said members of the tribunal were aware of the 180 days allowed by law for it to dispense justice and wind up.

Wakili, who has two other judges, Justice P. I. Ajoku and Justice A. E. Adesodun, in his panel, also advised litigants and their lawyers to explore the possibility of using Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, to resolve matters out of court.

He pledged that the tribunal would be upright and discharge its duty without fear or favour.

He said: “We must, therefore, uphold the stability of this democracy by stamping the hallmark of legality on conduct of our nation’s elections, as it is through our eyes that justice perceives a wrong that must be made right.

“Counsel as officers in the temple of justice, must ensure that their duty to the tribunal is paramount, and must abide by the ethic of the profession, which requires respect, honesty and decorum.

“You are, therefore, not to mislead the tribunal/court, but to assist it to arrive at justice before the public.”