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TRIBUNAL STOPS BID TO DELIST FORMER DTHA SPEAKER FROM ELECTION PETITION HEARING

INECThe Delta State National Assembly/ State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Asaba on the 22nd June, 2015 refused to hear the motion brought before it by the First Respondent’s Counsel demanding that the paragraphs containing some criminal allegations leveled against Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei be expunged in a petition between Engr. Emeka Nwaobi/PDP versus Osi Okocha and another, stating that all motions should be taken along-side the trials. The decision of the Judges not to hear the motion is predicated upon an earlier position already taken by the Judges that all motions be heard along-side trials.

The Tribunal Judges, Hon. Justices Boufini as Chairman, I.A. Kangiwa and L.O. Ogundana gave this ruling when the Counsel to the First Respondent presented a motion asking the Honourable court to strike out some paragraphs of the petition that made criminal allegations on Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, armed policemen and armed soldiers.

The Counsels to the First, Second and Third Respondents argued that the notice for pre-hearing filed by the petitioners was premature given the fact that pleadings had not closed between the petitioners and all the Respondents. In reaction to that argument, the Lead Counsel to the petitioners, Barr. Robert Emukpoeruo cited a legal authority supporting the supposed premature application, saying that it is an overzealousness on the side of the petitioners which is commendable and does not do any harm to the petition. However, to avoid much argument, the Lead Counsel to the petitioners agreed to withdraw the first application since there was another one filed within time and at the close of pleadings between the petitioners and all the Respondents. One of the Judges requested the Lead Counsel to the petitioners to read the authority supporting the premature application to the court just to prove to the Counsels to the Respondents that there is a legal authority supporting a premature application for pre-hearing notice, even though all parties had agreed to work with the latter application. The former application for pre-hearing notice was at that point struck out along-side all preliminary objections raised by the Counsels to the Respondents concerning the premature application.

The Tribunal then adjourned to a later date for commencement of pre-hearing.       

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