Osun Tribunal Reads Riot Act Over False Information On Proceedings

martelo-tribunal-03-600phThe Election petition tribunal sitting in Osogbo on Thursday cautioned politicians and media against spreading false information about proceedings of the tribunal.

The Osun election tribunal chaired by His Lordship Elizabeth Kpejomi with Hon. Justice Vincent Ofesi and Justice Kutigi at the resumed sitting of the tribunal asked for the cooperation of all parties towards ensuring smooth adjudication of the matter before them.

The tribunal which began its hearing on Thursday with a pre-hearing session warned that the tribunal will not take kindly to any attempt at spreading falsehood against the tribunal.

She frowned at the lies purportedly being peddled around by the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in Osun that the tribunal had given an order for recount when in actual fact no such order was granted.

The Chairman particularly warned the media to ensure accurate reportage of events at the Tribunal so as not to misinform people of its activities.

According to her, “I want to personally appeal to media practitioners who are here to report accurately happenings at the tribunal, if you are not clear with anything, you should always seek clarification.

“We were particularly shocked by the falsehood being bandied around last week about an order that was not granted by us or any other court. Such news, if we are not careful could lead to the breakdown of law and order.

“I want to use this occasion to warn us that henceforth, we will not take it kindly with any  attempt at spreading outright falsehood against the tribunal”. Justice Kpejomi stressed.

‎Responding on behalf of other Counsel in the matter, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) commended the courage of the tribunal for pointing out the reckless dissemination of falsehood by some segments of the media

Olujimi assured the tribunal that counsels will cooperate fully with the tribunal to ensure that justice is done without  fear or favour.

Dr.Alex Iziyon (SAN) who led four SAN and fourteen other Lawyers on behalf of the petitioners (Omisore and PDP) informed the court that there are four pending applications before the court.

He pointed out that two out of the four motions are joined, bordering on the issue of jurisdiction and competence of the petition which can be taken together  with the main petition.

Iziyon was of the opinion that parties had wasted two months out of six months slated for the petition, saying, it is in the interest of justice for the other applications to be heard together with the petition.

He also withdrew the only application by the petitioner seeking to exclude the 1st and 2nd Respondent from further inspection of polling documents at INEC office having realised that the application is dead on arrival.

Chief Akin Olujinmi while responding to the application of Dr. Alex Iziyon SAN referred to Paragraph 53 (5) of first Schedule of Electoral Act 2010 as amended which provides that an objection challenging the regularity of the petition shall be heard and determined after close of pleadings.

He noted that pleadings have closed, the objection challenges the competence of the petition and so cannot be taken along with the petition.

The court on its own referred Chief Olujinmi to paragraph 12 (5) of the amended Act but Chief Olujinmi insisted that Section 53 (5) is specific on jurisdiction while 12 (5) is general.

According to him, the essence of the motion is that if the petition is not properly filed, there will be nothing for the court to look at. While the other motion relates to pre-trial failure to apply within time.

In his word, “there is no authority that pre-hearing motions should be taken together with the main petition”.He cited Okonkwo v. INEC (2004) 1NWLR pt 854 pg.242 at 247.