BENUE TRIBUNAL: APPEAL COURT NULLIFIES TRIBUNAL PROCEEDINGS • It is a case of judicial confusion- ACN • Tribunal continues sitting.

Posted: September 17, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The appeal court sitting in Makurdi has voided the proceedings of the Benue Electoral tribunal sitting in Makurdi. Ruling on the appeal filled by Chief Solomnon Akuma , counsel to the PDP, Justice U Onyemenam said the lower court erred in law by ordering commencement of pre trial conference without following due process emphasizing that everything that happened at the lower court since commencement of trial amount a to a nullity.
The appeal court said the tribunal had on June 29, 2011 given wrong order for the commencement of pre-trial outside the pre-trial period.
The ruling was based on a petition by the counsel to PDP, on grounds of non-compliance to paragraph 18 sub-section four of the first schedule of the electoral act (As amended)which provides that, in extreme situations , a petitioner must seek leave of court before applying for pre-trial outside the pre-trial period.
Speaking on the judgment, counsel to Suswam, Tony Ijohor (SAN), said by implication the lower court will discontinue hearing on the on-going petition, stating that once the judgment is served on the tribunal and other parties, it would dismiss Ugba’s petition and leave.
Meanwhile counsel to Prof. Ugbah, Mr. Simon Orkuma said he would be heading to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the appeal court on the nullification of the tribunal’s proceedings.
In its reaction, the ACN issued a press statement describing the court’s ruling as “judicial confusion”, created by conflicting declarations of the court. It further reads that
“in their judgement the court of appeal dismissed the appeal of Gabriel Suswam challenging the ruling of the tribunal that allowed prof. steve Torkuma ugbah’s motion ex-parte for pre trial saying, an application by letter for the issuance of pre-hearing forms will be allowed most especially as paragraph 18(1) of the electoral act (as amended) did not specify the mode of application.”
“The same court in the second judgement in the appeal, upheld the PDP appeal that prof. steve Torkuma ugbah did not seek leave of the tribunal before moving their motion and thereby declared the action of the tribunal nullity”.
The party in its statement also accused the tribunal of relying on the case of Senator Daniel Saror to deliver its judgement.
“clearly the court of appeal was referring to the case of Senator Daniel Saror which is still pending in court. The CAN petition does not have any 4th respondent”. The statement claimed.
In a related development, despite the ruling of the appellate court, declaring the on-going proceedings at the Benue electoral tribunal hearing, the petition against Gov. Gabriel Suswam as nullity, the electoral tribunal has decided it will still carry out her judiciary duty.
The tribunal led by Justice Munir Ladan sat over the weekend to decide whether to continue with the proceedings or abandon it owing to the Friday ruling of the appellate court nullifying the commencement of a pre-trial conference by the tribunal.
Counsel for Suswam, D.C Odemwingwe and counsel for PDP, Chief Solomon Akuma, told the court that since the appeal court had rendered the pre-trial which ushered the trial null and void, the court has the responsibility to obey the judgment of the court of appeal which is a superior court as such the tribunal lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
In his reaction Mr. Simon Orkuma, who represented Prof. Steve Ugbah, prayed the tribunal to continue sitting as he had filled an appeal at the Supreme Court and a motion for the stay of execution of judgment by the court of appeal in Makurdi.
Meanwhile the presiding judge Justice Munir Ladan has adjorned sitting till till Monday,19 for ruling .

  1. Su'eddie says:

    Nice one here. Impressed with your reportage and shocked that your blog looks near exactly like mine!! Well done Sir, proud to make acquaintance with your work!


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