Tribunal Dismisses Petition Against Obiano

The Anambra State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal presided over by Justice H. A Olusiyi on March 5 dismissed an election petition brought before it by African Peoples Party (APP).

The party is praying the Tribunal to hold that the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the electoral Act 2010 as amended.

The party also prayed the tribunal to nullify the election or in the alternative declare its candidate the winner of the election.

But Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN filed an application under Paragraph 18 sub 4 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, for the dismissal of the petition.

The Senior Advocate, who led a team of lawyers, including, Ken Mozia, Pat Ikwuato, SAN, Emeka Etiaba, SAN and a senior counsel, Onyinye Anumonye, said that the petition failed to request and file for forms that would have triggered a pre-trial conference.

He argued that based on the provisions of the section, the tribunal must conduct a pre-trial conference.

Ikpeazu also averred, “The parties are bound by the provisions of the Electoral Act, after pleading, must request for the issuance of forms 007 and 008.”

According to him, this will enable the parties to file the necessary prehearing information that will enable the tribunal to conduct necessary pre-hearing.

He, then, also argued to the effect that failure to file for requisition is a grievous electoral offence and should be dismissed for incompetence.

The Counsel to the APP, Mr Kingdom Okorie, had pleaded with the tribunal to stand down proceedings on the matter or adjourn to enable him to produce a letter that he claimed he filed, requesting for the issuance of the forms.

But Counsel to Gov. Willie Obiano, Dr Ikpeazu, SAN had objected to the application on grounds that there was nothing in the file of the tribunal to show that the petitioner filed any application for issuance of the forms.

“Secondly, the tribunal is bound by its own records and the parties are abound by the recent position of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The Apex court had held that any letter written by a lawyer on such a petition must be filed and there must be evidence of payment.

He added that during proceedings, the secretary of the tribunal reported on the floor of the court that no letter was filed, requesting the Tribunal for issuance of the forms.

In his ruling Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Olusiyi refused to stand down the proceedings or adjourn the matter.

He said the petitioner did not present any application for issuance of the forms necessary for the trial and therefore, dismissed the petition.

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