Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Governorship Elections Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Friday warned parties having case before it to sit up, stressing that the tribunal would not tolerate any frivolous applications to attract undue delay.
The tribunal gave the warning following an application by the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nsima Ekere seeking for more time to respond to applications filed by respondents in the governorship elections petition pre-trials hearings.
The court emphasised that time was of the essence in an election petition case and therefore charged all parties to strive to abide by the timelines as indicated by the Electoral Act or as directed by the Tribunal.
The court had adjourned the matter to June 14, 2019 (Friday) to hear all applications in the suit and the completion of pre-trial period.
But counsel to the Petitioner, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN at the pre-trial session held at the State Magistrate Court Complex, alone Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, had prayed the court for an extension of the pre-trial period to enable them prepare their responses to the applications filed by the Respondents.
The counsel to the Respondents, Chief Assam Assam, SAN appeared for the 1st Respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uko Udom, SAN for the 2nd Respondent, Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP and Offiong Offiong, SAN for the 3rd Respondent, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
They were unanimous in their position that they would not oppose the application of the Petitioner, except that he could not predicate his prayers on unsubstantiated allegations against Respondents.
The counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd had all filed their applications for hearing Friday but the Petitioner failed to respond to most of the Applications, hence the application for the extension of time.
The court yielded to the prayers of the Petitioner and extended the pre-trial period to June 21, 2019 for completion of pre-trial hearings.