David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Anambra Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka has promised fair hearing to all parties in their petitions before it, saying that it has no reason to compromise.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice H A Olusiyi, who spoke to journalists in Awka yesterday, said the tribunal had so far received four petitions including three for governorship election and one in respect of Anambra Central senatorial rerun election.
The chairman who spoke alongside Justice A.O Ayoola, member of the tribunal, said all the petitions filed had been responded to and are awaiting appropriate steps by the litigants for further actions.
He said it was not true that the tribunal was treating cases with tardiness and might not be able to dispense of the matters before the timeline of 180 days allotted to tribunal matters by the electoral act.
â€œThe tribunal is on ground, having been constituted two weeks before the November 13 governorship election here in Anambra as required by the 1999 Constitution.
â€œThe tribunal has four petitions before it; three for governorship and one for senatorial, petitions are time defined, there is time during which a process must be completed and you canâ€™t go to the next without concluding the other.
â€œWe are presently on interlocutory allocations after which the hearings will commence, so we are still within the timeframe and we shall conclude all the petitions before the tribunal ends,â€ he said.
Olusiyi expressed disappointment over the petition written against the tribunal by Dr. Paul Obianaso, a candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADP) in the November governorship election, describing it as hasty and misleading.
He said the fears of Obianaso that the N400,000 deposited with the Secretary of the tribunal was not receipted for and therefore was not safe.
The judge described the money as security which when no longer needed as security for costs, charges or expenses shall be returned to the person in whose name it was deposited.
Olusiyi said Schedule 39 of the Electoral Act provided it could also be returned to the person entitled to receive it by order of the tribunal or court which may be made on motion after notice and proof that all just claims have been satisfied. The judge said such petition should have been appropriate if after the tribunal ended and he did not get the money as required by the Electoral act.
â€œThere is no iota of truth in his allegations, it is hasty and misleading.
â€œObianaso is the party that filed petition and he wrote a petition against the tribunal with the name of his political party, African Democratic Congress (ADC), which is not before us.
â€œHe is just misinforming the public with those allegations, he should have complained if after the tribunal ends, he did not get his money.
â€œThe appointing authorities have confidence in us and that is why they sent us here, what we are assuring is that there will be fair hearing for all parties,â€ he said.