Election Petition Tribunal Warns PDP And Others, Against Frivolous Applications

At the resumed sitting of the Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting at High Court 9, FULGA street, Uyo, two applications were entertained from the 1st Respondent (Udom Emmanuel) and 3rd Respondent (INEC). Rulings in both applications were reserved till judgment at the end of proceedings. The Petitioners on their part also drew the attention of the Tribunal to two applications pending before the Tribunal; the first, to insert two omitted pages in the amended Petition which were already part of the original Petition, and secondly, to file a deposition containing the Inspection Report obtained after inspection of materials used in the conduct of the March 9, 2019 Governorship Election in Akwa Ibom State as ordered by the Tribunal on 15th April, 2019. The applications will be taken on July 4, 2019 when the Tribunal reconvenes.

Meanwhile, a mild interregnum occurred in the course of the proceedings. The Tribunal was informed of an application made by Nature Udoh of Young Progressive Party (YPP) seeking to be joined as a Respondent in the Petition filed against Udom Gabriel Emmanuel & Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and INEC by the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Obong Nsima U. Ekere.

In the application which was eventually dismissed as “useless”, the applicants claimed that they participated in the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election on March 9, 2019 and “had something to say”. Speaking while moving the Motion on Notice which was not supported by any of the other Respondents, Counsel to the applicants Godwin Edoho, Esq submitted that his clients were “interested parties” in the Petition.
Asked whether the prayers on the Motion paper specified in what capacity the applicants were to be joined, the learned Counsel responded in the negative and said “it was a typographical error”.

Ruling on the application which was earlier overwhelmingly condemned by all Counsel in the proceedings, the Tribunal Chairman Justice A.M. Yakubu condemned the attitude of Counsel coming to Court with all manner of frivolous applications and held that the application had no merit, incompetent and dismissed same. He observed that the application was not accompanied by witness depositions and applicants’ list of witnesses and did not disclose what the applicants said they “had to say”. He held that parties who participated in Elections and had anything to say should file Petitions rather than indulging in frivolity. Speaking further, Justice Yakubu said Counsel ought to be subjected to disciplinary measures of the NBA but for the intervention of Prof. Ernest Ojukwu, SAN a former Deputy Director General of the Nigerian Law School and Counsel to Obong Nsima Ekere who pleaded for leniency for his “student”.

The applicant, Nature Denis Udoh of Nature Udoh and the Gang fame was nowhere to be found while the proceedings lasted.

The Petition was subsequently adjourned to July 4, 2019 for the hearing of two Motions filed by the Petitioners and hearing of the main Petition.