As the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal begin sitting in Kaduna, Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District has expressed hope that justice would be done to the petitions he filled before the court.
The Senator said, part of the reasons the petition was filed was to seek justice and provide evidence where necessary to prove his case.
Sani, who spoke through his Counsel, Barrister Kefas Kure said, “we expect to get justice at the end of the case.
“It is equally glorifying to note that the judges have requested the cooperation of all legal practitioners to remain committed and up doing during the sitting.
He also expressed satisfaction that the tribunal Judges said they will not entertain unnecessary delay as petitions would be treated with urgency and dispatch.
In his address during the official inaugural sitting of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal, Kaduna State, holding in Kaduna, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice A.H. Suleiman.
“It is not in doubt that this Tribunal is a product of the Supreme Law of the country, otherwise called the grundnorm, i.e. 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Section 285(1) & (2) of the said Constitution provides for the establishment of one or more Election Tribunals to be known as the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal.
“It is in view of the above provision and pursuant to the powers conferred by paragraph 1(3) of the sixth schedule to the Constitution that the appointing authority constituted among others, this National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal for Kaduna State.
“The Tribunal is made up of the Chairman and two other members and its jurisdiction is as spelt out in section 285 of the Constitution. In nutshell, the Tribunal shall to the exclusion of any other Court or Tribunal have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as whether any person has been validly elected as a member of National Assembly; or any person has been validly elected as a member of the House of Assembly of a state.
“The instant Tribunal is constituted to hear petitions arising from the recently held National and Kaduna State Legislative Elections. At the moment, 18 petitions have been filed, ten (10) of which are in respect of the National Assembly elections, while eight (8) are of the Kaduna State House of Assembly elections.
“Election petitions by their nature are sui generis; i.e. in a class of its own. It is therefore obvious that time is of essence. In this regard, we request the cooperation of all, especially the legal practitioners having petition(s) to prosecute or defend before the Tribunal. Counsel should therefore endeavour to remain committed and be up and doing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Tribunal will not entertain unnecessary delay as the petitions will be treated with utmost urgency and dispatch Counsel are further reminded to avoid the request for unnecessary adjournment.
“On our part as Judicial Officers, we are under an oath to dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill-will The Tribunal will afford all parties adequate and equal opportunity within the ambit of the law to present their cases to the best of their ability for adjudication.
“To achieve the noble objective of expeditious dispensation of justice in the enormous petitions before us, the Tribunal shall adopt and seriously adhere to the following:
(i) The sitting of the Tribunal will always commence at 9:00am daily and may as well extend to the night. (ii) The sitting will be on day to day basis and may include weekends and public holidays .
(iii) There will be short break between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00pm daily and may be decided by the Tribunal .
(iv) Absence of parties and/or their Counsel will not stop the proceedings of the Tribunal and where necessary, appropriate provisions of the Rules of Court or Practice Direction (as the case may be) will be invoked against the defaulting party.
“Let it be stressed at this juncture that parties and Counsel are forewarned to desist from engaging in any untoward act that may stifle the administration of justice. In this regard, any attempt to influence the Tribunal, in any way or mode, should be totally avoided as such attempt shall be severely dealt with according to the law.” He stressed.