The National Assembly and Legislative Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, has said it would obey the order of the Court of Appeal that directed it to give accelerated hearing to the petition brought before it by Senator Smart Adeyemi, over the March 28 National Assembly election into Kogi West senatorial seat.
The tribunal at its resumed hearing said, while parties in the case would be given fair hearing, motions on technicalities would be avoided to enable it give its ruling within the stipulated time frame.
The chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Akon Ikpeme, who said this, however, expresssed reservations over a media report that quoted the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Dino Melaye, over the litigation.
The reports had quoted the senator, representing Kogi West senatorial district, as saying that the motions on technicalities were intentionally orchestrated at the tribunal to ensure that the time limit of the tribunal elapsed without going into the merit of the case.
The tribunal warned parties and their supporters to refrain from making comments about the petition that was already before it, saying such could amount to contempt.
She asked the parties and the media to allow the tribunal do its work within the stipulated time, saying the panel was ready to listen to all the parties and deliver its ruling without fear or favour.
The tribunal also consolidated all other motions brought forward by counsels and fixed next Saturday for ruling on them after dismissing the application brought by Melaiye to stop Adeyemi from going ahead with his prayers.
The two major prayers of Smart Adeyemi which the tribunal granted to hear, was that Melaiye never participated in the primary election of APC, which was confirmed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a letter dated 30th April,2015 with ref no EPT/KG/NAE/SEN/0415 and signed by one Mr S.Z Gbaje and three other lawyers at the INEC office, lokoja.
Adeyemi ‘s other prayer was on the disputed polling units in Lokoja, he alleged that large scale of malpractices took place.
The tribunal ordered in July before the case was thrown out that the 21 disputed units in Lokoja Local Government Area must be recounted, following which the ballot boxes were brought before the tribunal and the votes were recounted under the supervision of the counsels to INEC, PDP, APC and security officials.
The vote recount revealed that over 3,000 votes belonging to the PDP candidates were erroneously alloted to the APC candidate.