Awka, – The Election Petitions Tribunal in Awka commenced sitting on Wednesday to determine the 30 petitions arising from the 2015 general elections in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal received four petitions from senatorial poll, 12 from House of Representatives election and 14 from states’ assembly election.
The Chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Nayai Aganaba, at the inaugural sitting, solicited the cooperation of lawyers in determining the matters within the stipulated 180 days.
Aganaba, flanked by Justice I.D. Garba and Justice Gani Hamidu as members, assured that the panel would ensure that justice was done to all petitioners.
He said “we have heard of unsavory situations during election petition trials in the state, but we believe that it is not a do-or-die affair.
“The quality of evidence and rules governing electoral matters provided by counsel will determine whether someone won or lost the election.
“Any attempt to try to sway us in one way or the other will not work; the only attempt that will work is to sway us toward advocacy.’’
The tribunal chairman urged lawyers to show respect for one another and teach the younger lawyers what it took to be lawyers.
Earlier, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Anali Chude, had assured the panel of adequate security and conducive environment to carry out their duty.
Also, the most senior lawyer at the inaugural sitting, Mr Nnoluka Udechukwu (SAN), prayed God to grant the panel members sound mind to discharge their duty without fear or favour.
He said “we shall give you all the cooperation that you need and assure you of our civility in making sure that you leave the state after duty with your reputations intact.’’
The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Awka branch, Mr Anene Uba, who spoke on behalf of the state forum, welcomed the panel and expressed the belief that they would enjoy their stay. (NAN)