Law News
Lagos election tribunal warns against delay tactics

As hearing into various petitions emanating from the March 28 and April 11 House of Representatives and Lagos House of Assembly elections commenced on Tuesday in Lagos,  the Lagos Election Petitions Tribunal has warned the parties against deliberate delay tactics.

The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sylvanus Oriji, issued the warning at the Roseline Omotoso courthouse in Ikeja, where the three-man panel is sitting.

Orji, who led  Justices K. Dabo and Kadi Yusuf as members of the panel, described  election petitions as delicate and sensitive matters that must be expeditiously determined.

The judge noted that Section 285 (6) of the 1999 Constitution specified that all election petitions must be decided within 180 days after the election.

According to Orji, it was now established that any judgment delivered by an Election Petition Tribunal in an election petition after 180 days from the date of filing was a nullity.

Oriji implored the lawyers to give the tribunal the necessary support and co-operation both at the pre-hearing conferences and throughout the hearing of the petitions.

He said, “Without your co-operation, it will be difficult for the tribunal to succeed in its onerous task to conclude all the pending election petitions within 180 days as stipulated by the Constitution.

“In this regard, the tribunal will not tolerate any action or omission (or strategy) aimed at delaying or frustrating the expeditious hearing and determination of the petitions.”

He also urged the lawyers to be guided by the rules of professional conduct for legal practitioners and show respect to the Bench and their colleagues while conducting their matters before the tribunal.

The judge advised the media to report the proceedings of the tribunal accurately, adding that they should contact the tribunal’s secretary when in doubt.

He maintained that the tribunal would discharge its responsibilities without fear or favour, noting that its interest to do justice was higher than that of any individual.

Responding on behalf of the lawyers, Mr.  Ademola Sadiq, assured the tribunal that all the admonitions given by the judge would be strictly adhered to in the interest of justice.

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