Delta Tribunal Wants PDP’s Preliminary Objections against APC, LP’s Petition Collapsed into Substantive Trial
By Omos Oyibode
Delta State Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday in Asaba, asked the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to collapse its preliminary objections into the substantive trial in the petition filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP), challenging the results of the governorship election in the state.
In its ruling, Chairman of the three-man tribunal , Justice Nasiru Gunmi, said that by virtue of section 285(6) of the 1999 constitution said the tribunal is obligated to conclude the hearing of judgment of the petition within 180 days to the filing of the petition, hence the need to collapse the preliminary objection into the substantive suits.
The judge observed that “it is better for all the issues adjudicated to be looked into, including the issues raised in the objection; any aggrieved party can take issues to the court of Appeal.” He added that “the tribunal has resolved that the various preliminary objections filed by the respondents which appear towards the prevention of this petition on merits are to be hard with the petition”, hence the preliminary objection should be collapsed into the main trial of the substantive suit”.
PDP, through its lead counsel Dr. Alex Izyion (SAN) last week raised a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the petition. It also prayed the court to conduct a pre-trial hearing to look into fundamental nature of the objection or dismiss the entire petition because the petitioners had not followed due process.
But lead counsel to the APC, Mr. Thomson Okpoko (SAN) argued that the purpose of every tribunal is to do justice and that justice is done when the complainant is heard on the merit of the complaint, and urged the tribunal to allow the preliminary objections to be taken with the substantive trial.
The petitions were filed by Chief Great Ogboru of Labour Party, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Mr. Paul Isamade of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), challenging the governorship election results in the state.
However, Justice Gunmi adjourned the matter to next Thursday 9th July 2015, for the commencement of trial in the substantive suits.