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Enugu Assembly tribunal commences sitting on bye-election petition

By Emmanuel Acha [NAN]

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The National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal for the Isiuzo State Constituency bye-election in Enugu State commenced sitting on Friday.

In an inaugural speech, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Yusuf Halilu, promised that the tribunal would be fair and just in the discharge of its assignment.

Halilu said that the tribunal would discharge its duties with the fear of God.

He solicited the cooperation of members of the inner and outer bar to enable the panel to dispose of the matter within the stipulated time frame.

He said: “It is a choice to approach the tribunal when one feels aggrieved.

“One thing is that we will do our best to discharge the matter with the fear of God.”

He said that the tribunal would adjourn to enable the respondents to react to the application seeking leave of the tribunal to front-load the documents the petitioners would rely on to prosecute the case.

Responding, Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Godwin Onwusi, said his client filed the application because the documents they hoped to rely on were not handy at the time the petition was filed.

“We only listed those documents in the petition but did not attach them.

“We  eventually got the certified true copies of the documents and brought this application to enable us to front-load them,” he said.

Also, the Counsel for the respondent, Mr. Okechukwu Maduka (SAN), pledged the cooperation of members of the bar to ensure that justice was served in the matter.

The tribunal later adjourned the matter to March 10, 2021 for pretrial and arguments on the application.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission held a bye-election to fill the vacant seat in the assembly on December 5, 2020.

The seat became vacant, following the death of Mr. Chijioke Ugwueze of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The INEC had declared the PDP candidate and wife of the deceased lawmaker, Mrs. Catherine Ugwueze, the winner of the poll.

However, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr MacDonald Okwor, approached the tribunal to challenge the result. (NAN)

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