Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday commenced sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
At the inaugural sitting, Chairman of the Tribunal, Hon Justice A A Adeleye, who would be sitting alongside two other judges, Hon Justice CM Ken-Eze and Hon Justice AA Mamadi, assured lawyers and the petitioners that the law would be allowed to take its course.
However, the first petition filed by Mrs. Mimi Adzape-Orubibi, senatorial candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against former Governor Gabriel Suswam of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was adjourned to May 9, 2019, for pre-trial conference.
The pre-trial conference of Orubibi’s petition challenging the return of Suswam as the Benue North East senator couldn’t hold because counsel to senator-elect, Andrew Wombo, said he needed to respond to the petition.
Second on the list was the case brought against of House Representative Samson Okwu of the PDP against David Ogewu of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA); it did not also hold because pleadings have not been completely entered.
Lead counsel to Okwu, Kenneth Ikonne, drew the attention of the tribunal to Paragraph 18 (1) of the Practice Direction which provides that pre-trial comes only after final reply, stressing that in the circumstance, he was of the view that pre-trial could not go on.
Defendant’s counsel, NL Ikyaagba (Mrs), agreed to come before the tribunal on a later date to do the needful and the case was adjourned for May16, 2019, for pre-trial conference.