Plateau election tribunal knocks off technicalities to save 31 PDP petitions

Plateau election tribunal knocks off technicalities to save 31 PDP petitions

Monday, December 17, 2018 6:35 pm


The Plateau Local Government Election Tribunal on Monday knocked off technicalities to save 31 PDP petitions, which APC wanted it to dismiss based on technical errors committed in filing answers to pre-hearing questions.

Justice Jovita Binjin led tribunal, which gave the verdict, had on Thursday, fixed Monday to rule on the matter which was argued by all parties in the cases.

APC had on Thursday, through its counsel, Mr Garba Pwul (SAN), asked the tribunal to strike out the 31 petitions filed by the PDP, citing alleged failure to reply to pre-hearing questions within the tribunal’s 48 hours order and the seven days as required by law.

Pwul argued for failing to obey the tribunal, all the 31 petitions before it should be dismissed, citing various sections of the law including the Plateau Electoral Act to buttress his claims.

APC’s prayers followed denial by PDP led Counsel, Mr Lawrence Anyia, that the proceedings of the day could not go on after discovering that the registry had not served all the respondents with their (petitioners) answers to the pre-hearing questions.

But the tribunal, in its ruling of Monday, said that it was going to look at all the 77 petitions filed before it on their merit and not allow any form of technicality hamper the hearing of the petitions.

Binjin said that the tribunal carried out its search and discovered that there was nowhere it issued any 48 hours order to the petitioners to file and serve answers to their pre-hearing questions to respondents.

He also said the tribunal discovered that “counsel dumped most of their processes in the registry’’, which were yet to be served on their opponents, which brought about some undue delay to the court processes.

According to him: “to uphold the application by APC will amount to giving credence to technicalities other than merit and shut out Justice.’’

“In this tribunal, it will be better to have the petitions heard on their merit other than shutting them up on the ground of technicalities.

“This is to disallow counsel from engaging on how to outsmart one another. It’s to ensure that justice is done outside any technicality nor allow to encroach into the course of Justice, ’’ he said.

The tribunal finally stated, “we are constrained not to dismiss the 31 petitions but advise the counsel to do the needful to allow us progress.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal finally ordered, “from now hence forth, all processes should be served counsel to counsel in all the 77 petitions filed before this tribunal.’’

The tribunal was inaugurated on Nov. 23, to determine the petitions arising from the results of the Oct. 10 local government elections.

Results declared by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) showed that the APC swept the polls in the 13 local governments where the election was conducted.

Gov. Simon Lalong had left out four local governments – Jos North, Jos South, Riyom and Barkin-Ladi – citing security concerns.

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