Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Zamfara State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has fixed April 18, to commence pre-hearing conference for the petition filed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its senator and House of Representatives members-elect in the National Assembly.
The tribunal fixed the date after she ordered parties to exchange their briefs in the petition.
The pre-hearing conference was supposed to commence yesterday but was stalled due to some technicalities.
Alhaji Lawal Anka and Senator Sahabi Ya’u had filed a petition before the tribunal challenging the elections of Governor Abdullaziz Yari, Senator Tijani Yahaya of the APC as senators-elect from Zamfara State.
Also, Alhaji Shehu Ahmed and Ahmad Muhammad Bukura approached the tribunal to challenge Hon. Abdulmalik Zubairu and Hon. Muttakarimi as House of Representatives member-elects from the state.
The petitioners, through their counsel, Zakawano Garba, had brought a motion asking the tribunal to commence the pre-hearing conference.
But the Justice Binta Amina led tribunal rejected the request on the ground that the motion was not ripe for hearing.
Counsel to the respondents in the matter, Mr. Mahmud Magaji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had told the tribunal not to grant the request of the petitioner on the ground that it was not ripe for hearing.
He argued that the petitioner should have waited for the respondent to file their reply brief to the petition before asking the court to begin a pre-hearing conference of their petition.
According to him, the respondents are still within time to file their response before pre-hearing conference can commence.
He argued that the petitioner failed to serve the right person a copy of their process for proper acknowledgement before approaching the court to begin a pre-hearing conference.
The counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Zakawano Garba, who earlier argued his motion, told the tribunal that the motion for a pre-hearing conference is ripe having been properly filed and served on all the respondents.