Election Petition Tribunal not battleground – Justice Adeniyi

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By Asare Asare

The chairman of the Cross River State Elections Petition Tribunal, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, has cautioned aggrieved politicians that the tribunal is not a battleground.

The panel was to have had its inaugural sitting early last week but could not hold because the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, embarked on industrial action and locked all courts in the state.

At the inaugural sitting in Calabar today of the three-man panel (which has Justice Z. U. Modibbo and Justice Eva Okoronkwo), Adeniyi said they will discharge their duties to the best of their abilities and that they will be fair to all petitioners.

He said: “The tribunal is not a battleground, and we shall proceed seamlessly and without delay. We shall discharge our duties to the best of our abilities and always remain mindful of the oath we took. We assure all litigants of a fair trial, and we will not entertain any form of interference from any quarter and shall report any attempt to interfere with the tribunal to the security agencies.”

Seeking the cooperation of the bar and bench in the discharge of their assignment, he stressed that they do not have the luxury of time.

A member of the inner bar, Murtala Abdul-Rasheed, SAN, who also spoke, said the Nigerian public and the international community will be looking at how the tribunal carries out its assignment.

In his remark, the chairman of the Calabar branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Attah Ochinke, pledged that his members would exhibit professional candour throughout the proceedings.

“We will take our jobs seriously and will leave no stone unturned in helping the tribunal arrive at a just decision,” he said.

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