From Yakubu Busari, Jos
Counsel to clients at the tribunal hearing
The Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Jos, has adjourned sitting to Thursday, 1st of June ,2023 at the instance of the petitioner to enable the 2nd respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Governor-elect,Barr.Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang respond to their preliminary objections raised by the petitioner, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The 3-man panel comprising Hon. Justice. R. Irele- ifineh, Hon. Just. Sunday Olorundahunsi and Hon. Just. A.Y. Joh gave the adjournment to enable parties file and exchange all documents so that the Tribunal would proceeds with continuation of hearing into substantive suit file by Dr Yilwatda and the APC, challenging the outcome of governorship election during the 2023 general elections.
The counsel to the petitioner, Barr.Kayode Olatunde moved his petition dated 19th day of May ,2023 and filed on the 29th day of May, 2023 in pursuance to sub-section 7(c) of the first scheduled of the Electoral Act .
He said ,”We filed following issues for determination on the 19th day of May and filed 23rd day of May, 2023 whereby we humbly adopted it as points of our argument with two processes for prehearing and trial of this session.
The 1st respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission, NEC, also replied to the petitioner argument dated 23-05-2023 and adopted it including their P.O. for determination on two grounds.
However, Counsel to PDP, Barr.Pius A. Akubo (SAN) said the pre-hearing session answers as contained on their response dated 18th day of May ,2023 and filed on the 23rd day of May ,2023 were also adopted on behalf of their client.
Besides that, Barr. Manasseh Micah filed on the following issues for counter argument of behalf of Governor -elect, Barr. Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang on the 23rd day of May ,2023 with 4 cross petition dated same date .
In other to make progress the tribunal adopted all documents as pleaded by counsels on behalf of their clients.
Koyade Olatunde urged the election Tribunal to follow guidelines for proceedings, stressing that any satisfied true copies of documents should be tendered from the bar and any P .O. raised would be tendered and objector should be put in a separate argument or which will addressed alongside substantive case in the address while other documents would be tender through witness.
All parties agreed that they don’t need an interpreter. Kayode told the Tribunal that they have challenged the competency of the P.O of the 2nd respondent and equally filed application as indicated on the paragraph 14 which hasn’t been served to the respondents.
But, Pius Akubo opposed and argued that the decision taken by the petitioner counsel was like jumping the gun without the proper guidelines whereby the tradition of election tribunal demand that there is need to respond to all documents tendered during the prehearing and trial session answers sheet.
In other to make progress the tribunal adopted all documents as pleaded by counsels on behalf of their clients .
The election Tribunal carefully listened to the petitioner’s argument and the respondents and adjourned hearing to 1st of June,2023.