Osun State Election Petition Tribunal sitting on the petition of Governor Gboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission has been adjourned to Tuesday, October 4 for the proper commencement of pre-hearing.
The adjournment followed the decision of the tribunal to grant the INEC, PDP and Adeleke 7-days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.
At the sitting of the tribunal, counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Kayode Olatoke (SAN) had informed the court of his readiness to continue with pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.
On the request of the tribunal for advise, Olatoke suggested that the matter should be stood down for few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.
Counsel to the INEC, Ben Ananaba (SAN) said the pre-hearing could not go on because he was just served with the pre-hearing form this morning, saying statutorily, they have seven days to respond.
Counsel to Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin and counsel representing PDP, Nathaniel Oke (SAN) also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.
In his ruling, Chairman of the tribunal Justice Tertsea Kume adjourned the matter till Tuesday, October 4 for the commencement of hearing properly.
Addressing journalists after the sitting, Professor Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place, but the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.
“We were supposed to commence the Pre-hearing session this morning but unfortunately the respondents said they were served with the pre-hearing notice this morning.
“Form TF007 will inform the parties, while TF008 is the one they are going to respond to. But they said they served them this morning and for that, they have to respond. But election petition being too sui generis and time sensitive that is why we were suggesting we can take a stand down for them to fill the forms so that we come back for pre-hearing in the afternoon but since they insisted on having their right.
“But in order to be fear to them, that was why the tribunal adjourned till next week for them to take their time, fill the form and come back for pre-hearing session.”
On the seemingly delay tactic adopted by the respondents, the petitioner’s Counsel said ” When we get to the bridge, we cross it. We are all veterans in this business. You will see what will happen thereafter. It is because this one has to do with fair hearing and we wouldn’t d want anyone to be asking for the proceedings to get set aside because they were not given the required number of days”.