Wednesday July 24, 2019 2:31 AM

Elections: Tribunal warns lawyers against delay tactics

The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Enugu says it will not entertain any form of delay tactics by counsels during its sitting in the state.

The tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Kereng made the call in Enugu on Monday during the inaugural sitting of the tribunal.

Kereng said that the panel would be fair and would decide each and every petition on its merit devoid of any extraneous consideration and influences.

He said that the tribunal would not entertain any form of delay tactics by counsels in the matters.

The chairman also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to defend its conduct of the 2019 general elections with honesty.

Kereng said that the INEC needed to bear in mind that it functioned as an umpire in the elections, culminating into the petitions pending before the tribunal.

He said that staff of the INEC also needed to be mindful of the provisions of the law which mandated them to comply with orders of tribunals relating to electoral materials among others.

“The commission during the elections, now subject of complaints, presented itself as neutral and nonpartisan umpire.

“As a party before us in these petitions, INEC is expected to be cooperative, fair and focused. It should assist this tribunal to arrive at just and fair decisions,” he said.

He said that the tribunal was not unmindful of the fact that substantial part of the 180 days statutory period within which to dispose of any matter had gone.

“The records before this tribunal show that there are 11 election petitions; three senatorial petitions, six House of Representatives petitions and two State Assembly petitions.
“We will vehemently resist and refuse any action or inaction by any counsel appearing before this tribunal to slow down the progress, hearing and determination of any or all the petitions now pending before us” Kereng said.

Responding on behalf of the counsels present, the Attorney General of the state, Mr Mellitus Eze assured the panel of their cooperation.
Eze said that the state government would be willing to assist the panel to discharge its duties without fear or favour.

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