Tribunal rejects LP’s petition against Tinubu
By FAITH OMORUYI
Thursday February 23, 2012
The National Assembly and legislative House Election Petition Tribunal on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by Labour Party (LP) challenging the election of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Senator Remi Tinubu for Lagos Central Senatorial District.
LP had challenged the tribunal’s earlier ruling, which upheld Tinubu’s election. The appellate court had then directed that the matter be tried afresh by the tribunal under a new panel constituted by the president of the Court of Appeal.
Delivering its judgment read by its Chairman, Justice A. A. Nwaigwe, the tribunal dismissed the petition on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition and that the Supreme Court in a recent judgment had held that all election petitions should be concluded within 180 days.
The tribunal had fixed judgment for March 5, 2012 but had to hurriedly invite parties to appear in court for the judgment in view of the decision of the apex court.
In the earlier ruling by another panel of the election tribunal, it had rejected LP’s application on the ground that it failed to comply with Paragraph 18 (1), (2) and (4) of the Electoral Act which stated that application for pre-hearing notice shall be by motion and not through letter to the tribunal.
But, in the appeal, the party asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos to allow the appeal and set aside the ruling on the tribunal.
In its lead judgment delivered by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, supported by Justice R. N. Pemu and Justice M. A. Danjuma, the appellate court held that the tribunal was wrong when it dismissed the petition for making its pre-hearing through a letter to the secretary of the tribunal and not by a motion.