Awka - The Anambra Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Awka fixed February 4, for commencement of pre-hearing of petitions challenging Willie Obiano’s victory in the governorship election in the state.
The chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ishaq Bello announced this during the inaugural sitting of the panel in Awka on Tuesday.
He said that the date was chosen to enable parties file their replies.
Ishaq, who appealed for prompt filling of replies and timeout sitting, said that the panel would not entertain unnecessary adjournments during proceedings.
“We will not allow latitude of time wasting,” he said.
Ishaq said that the three-member panel was blessed with the best of characters and assured all counsel that the tribunal would carry out justice without fear or favour.
“We therefore solicit the cooperation and understanding of all parties to ensure that Nigeria is placed among nations where dispensation of justice is not delayed,” the chairman said.
He also charged the media to be cautious in their reports, saying that the peaceful co-existence of the country did not lie in the hands of judiciary alone.
“The media should not be sensational; there is a great responsibility on you (media) to be cautious in your reports for the peaceful co-existence of this country,” he said.
At the inaugural sitting, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) announced his appearance for the Independent National Electoral Commission while Obiano is being represented by Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN).
The All Progressives Grand Alliance is represented by Patrick Ikweto (SAN) and Emeka Ngige (SAN) appeared for the APC candidate and one of the petitioners Senator Chris Ngige and his party.
Other lawyers who announced their appearances are Clement Ezike for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr George Igbokwe, who is representing Tony Nwoye, the PDP governorship candidate.
In their separate responses, the counsel pledged their cooperation and support to the Tribunal while also expressing satisfaction and confidence in the constitution of the panel.
“We promise to give you our best intellectually and in relevance of law,” Awomolo said.
“On our part, we pledge our total cooperation as ministers in the temple of justice to make the work easy,” Ngige said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on December 1, 2013 declared Obiano of APGA winner of the governorship election.
The petitioners are seeking among other things the nullification of the November 16 and November 30 governorship election in the state.