Chairman of Benue State Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Mosumola Dipeolu has appealed to lawyers handling cases at the tribunal to caution their clients against making attempts to influence members of the panel or staff of the tribunal.
Justice Dipeolu who made the appeal yesterday during the inaugural session of the tribunal in Makurdi, the state capital, also urged them not to embark aon smear campaigns or peddling of rumors against the tribunal members,
She also cautioned lawyers and litigants to refrain from acts that could distract panel members form discharging their duties.
The tribunal chairman disclosed that the tribunal is presiding over 25 petitions; two senatorial petitions, six House of Representatives petitions and 17 House of Assembly petitions, she assured that the panel will dispense
with them within the stipulated 180 days to avoid any of the petitions lapsing.
Justice Dipeolu said “disposing of these cases does not depend on the tribunal alone but more on the lawyers. In view of the limited time within which to dispose of the cases before us, sitting outside the official hours on Saturdays and public holidays will not be unusual. I therefore, implore lawyers involved in election petition cases to co-operate with the tribunal as delay in any form or manner will not be tolerated”.
The Election Petition Tribunal is expected to proceed with pre-hearing sessions or start dismissing cases deemed abandoned by the petitioners or enter judgment for respondents in accordance with paragraph 18(4) and (3) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2015 (as amended) on 18th May, 2015.
Responding on behalf of the lawyers, Sabestian Hon, SAN assured the panel they will do their best not to make its work laborious, adding that they would cooperate with the administrative staff to ensure success of the panel.