As the Ondo State Election Petition for the February 25 and March 18 State and National Assembly elections in Ondo state, began sitting in Akure, Ondo state capital, the Tribunal has warned political parties and politicians not to attempt to influence members of the panel.
The three-man tribunal Chairman, Justice Rose Soji, warned petitioners and their lawyers against meeting with any of the members of the tribunal in private, saying such an act will not be tolerated under any guise.
He also warned petitioners and their lawyers against meeting with any of them in private, saying such will not be tolerated under any guise.
Soji who was flanked by two other panel of Justice, Justice Aliyu Bapa and Justice Frank Onyiri, disclosed that no fewer than 14 petitions were received by the tribunal for the national and state Houses of Assembly elections in the state.
According to her, election petition is time-bound, hence, the tribunal will not entertain delay tactics that may be deployed by lawyers while filing their processes
She assured all parties involved in the process that the panel would be fair and unbiased throughout the duration that the tribunal would be sitting.
The panel also warned lawyers against addressing the panel in a dress code not authorised for appearance, as it was emphasised that only black and navy blue dress codes will be allowed.
“We crave the indulgence and cooperation of everyone so that we can finish on time. We received 14 petitions from both the National and State Assemblies.
“The election petition is time-bound. We will hear you and decide according to the law. We are not here for any party or petitioner. No lawyer or litigant should see us in private. We will not tolerate that, and we will finish well.
“We will not allow any private talk with members of the panel, everything should be made public.”
While responding on behalf of lawyers, Olajide Ajana assured the panel that the processes would be smooth and unhindered, saying the tribunal would be given all the seriousness it deserved.