Osun: Tribunal won’t terminate Omisore’s petition until substantive matter is heard
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday ruled that it would not terminate the trial of the petition filed by Senator Iyiola Omisore until the substantive matter before it has been heard.
The ruling was sequel to the application filed by Governor Rauf Aregbesola seeking the order of the Tribunal to dismiss Omisore’s petition because the Reply to Respondent’s Reply was filed out of time and the Pre- trial session form TF007 was filed out of time set by the Electoral Act, 2010.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Elizabeth Nkpejomi noted that the application had to do with the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to handle the petition and ruled that the rule guiding it was to save the time of the court.
According to the Tribunal, the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental but in cases where time was of the essence, the application seeking to terminate the petition and the main petition should be heard together in order to do substantial justice to all the parties.
The Tribunal chairman noted further that the respondents would not suffer any miscarriage of justice if the application was heard alongside the petition citing the case of Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria versus Nzeribe as the authority that gave basis to the decision.
Nkpejomi ruled further by saying “we cannot locate any injury that any of the parties would suffer if we hear the application alongside the petition. Election petitions are sui generis in nature where time is of the essence”.
The Tribunal moved quickly to the Pre trial Conference (PTC) immediately after the ruling where parties agreed to file issues distilled for determination on Wednesday while further proceedings in the petition was adjourned till today.
Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), leading counsel to Governor Aregbesola, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and Ayotunde Ogunleye for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had opposed the application by Chief Chris Uche (SAN), the leading counsel to Omisore seeking the order of the Tribunal to limit the time of cross-examination of witnesses to five minutes each.
The senior advocates sought a minimum of twenty minutes for general witnesses and 30 minutes for expert and star witnesses as opposed to the five minutes requested by Uche.