Chairman of the three-man Delta state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Ayo Abisoye says the Tribunal will not entertain any case outside that of the April 26, 2011 governorship election in Delta state.
“This Tribunal was specifically set up for the April 2011 governorship election in Delta state”, she asserted.
Justice Abisoye made this assertion following a request by Nicoles Ichekor, counsel to Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in the January 6 re-run election and seeking the Tribunal to issue a hearing date for the matter earlier filed on January 27, 2011 at the Appeal Court in Benin.
The counsel, who blamed the complicity on administrative hitches, had wondered why the Tribunal has not yet received the re-run election Suit, even as he claimed that the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to hear the matter and deliver judgement on same.
Responding to his plea for a date to hear the suit, the Tribunal chairman said, “If you are anxious about the situation, direct the matter to the President of the Appeal Court to adjudicate on the matter and give a proper directive on the way forward”.
She revealed that the Tribunal has so far received five petitions filed by aggrieved candidates in the April 26, 2011 governorship election in the state and warned against attempts to influence or compromise activities of the Tribunal.
According to her, the five petitions are those that met the May 19, 2011 deadline, as specified by the Electoral Act for filing of petitions at the Tribunal, adding that pursuant to Section 286 (2), the Tribunal is determined to deliver its judgement in writing within the mandatory 180 days.
Other members of the Tribunal are Joy Awana and Shittu Abubakar.
Meanwhile, Delta state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Victor Otomewho had challenged Ichekor for making the plea at the wrong time, promised that the state government will not interfere with activities of the Tribunal and appealed to the three-man tribunal over the delay caused it by the aborted Judiciary workers’ strike action, saying it was not intended to slight the Tribunal.
“The strike action was not intended to slight the Tribunal in any way. You have nothing to fear as Delta state government will not interfere with activities of the Tribunal.