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Tribunal judgement: Senator Joel-Onowakpo petitions A’Court President for refusing to release CTC



By Hannah Nathan, Warri

Controversy as the Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, Sen. Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, has petitioned the President of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria to prevail on the Chairman of the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal Panel 3 sitting in Asaba, Delta State, to release the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Judgement on petition number EPT/DL/SEN/01/2023-Diden Michael & ANOR v INEC & ORS.

This is contained in a petition to the President of the Court of Appeal, Nigeria, signed by his Counsel, Robert Emukpoeruo, SAN, of Summit Law Chambers, Solicitors & Advocates, titled, ‘Non-release of Judgement Delivered on 6th September, 2023 is in Petition No: EPT/DL/SEN/01/2023 – Diden Michael & ANOR v INEC & ORS’.

Recall, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba had ordered a rerun election in Warri South Local Government Area, which according to the judgement, should hold within 90 days.

According to him, the non-release of the Certified True Copy of the judgement is impeding on his determination to challenge the ruling in an appeal, as he was not satisfied with the outcome of the tribunal.

He stated that he had not understand why the chairman of the tribunal is not forthcoming with the CTC.

The petition stated, “We act as Counsel to Senator Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Ewomazino, the 2nd Respondent in the above petition and we have his instructions to bring to your Lordship’s attention the failure to release upon application the judgement of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal Panel 3 sitting in Asaba in the aforesaid matter.

“On the 6th of September 2023, the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal, Holden in Asaba (Panel 3) delivered judgement in the above petition in which it ordered a rerun of the Delta South Senatorial District Election.

“We immediately applied for the Certified True Copy of the said judgement with a view to our client preparing and filing his notice and grounds of appeal against the judgement. A copy of the duly acknowledged letter is herewith attached showing that our application was received on the 7th of September 2023.

“Since the day of delivery of the judgement we have embarked on a daily pilgrimage to the Registrar of the Tribunal for the Certified True Copy of the judgement only to be met by the blunt statement of the Tribunal’s Secretary that the Chairman of the Tribunal has not yet released the judgement!

“Today the 11th day of September 2023 makes it the sixth (6th) day out of the constitutionally limited period of the sixty (60) days from the delivery of the judgement for the Court of Appeal to hear and determine our client’s appeal pursuant to the provisions of Section 285(7) of the 1999 Constitution and our client still does not have the judgement!

“In other that our client’s constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal is not truncated entirely and the Court of Appeal itself is not placed under an intolerable time constrain to hear and determine our proposed appeal, we most humbly appeal to your noble Lord to prevail on, or, and direct the Chairman of the Tribunal aforesaid to immediately release the judgement delivered in the aforesaid matter.”