From TUNDE RAHEEM Akure
Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal yesterday began its inaugural sitting in Akure, the state capital to adjudicate on petitions filed by the candidates of various political parties in the last governorship election held on October 20 in the state.
The tribunal is headed by Justice A. Kaka’n , while the two other judges are Justices H. S Muhammad and M.M Alkali . The eminent jurists promised to be fair and thorough in the course of carrying out their assignment Delivering his inaugural speech, the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice A. Kaka’n said the panel was constituted by the Court of Appeal to look into cases arising from the last governorship election in the state. Kaka’n said the judges had sworn to oath of allegiance to carry out their duties without fear or favour to any party or parties at the tribunal
He warned politicians to desist from any act that would be contrary to the rules and regulations guiding the system, saying his members would not entertain financial inducement, unnecessary distraction or lobbying from anybody no matter high placed or influential the person might be. Kaka’n said: “As Judges, we took oath to discharge our duties and perform our functions, honestly to the best of our ability and faithfully in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Law.
We also swore to abide by the code of conduct, not allow our personal interests to influence our official conduct or decisions” “We do justice to all manner of persons without fear or favour, affection and we promise not to be corrupt or to aid or abate corruption. We want to assure you that we shall discharge the function for which we are sent here in accordance with the oath we took.”
They also warned members of the public and political parties to desist from interfering while the tribunal was discharging its duties, saying all transactions would be done officially. The tribunal called on the legal counsel to follow the rules and proceedings of the tribunal strictly “ by virtue of section 285 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. We are to hear and determine these petitions within 180 days.”
Meanwhile, five political parties; the Action Congress of Nigeria , the Peoples Democratic Party, Accord Party’s, Congress for Progressive Change, Peoples Democratic Changes have already filed petitions before the tribunal challenging the election victory of Labour Party governorship candidate, governor Olusegun Mimiko in the last governorship election held in the state in October 20, 2012.