Major political parties have reacted differently to the recent relocation of the election tribunal set up to hear petitions arising from the governorship poll in Osun State.
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it has no objection to the relocation of the panel from Osogbo to any part of the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) objected the move.
The PDP further called on the National Judicial Council to probe the shift of the sitting of the tribunal to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The relocation notice was contained in a statement pasted on the notice board located at the premises of the Osun State High Court Complex, Osogbo, the state capital.
It reads: “This is to inform the general public that the sitting of the Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has been relocated from High Court of Justice Complex, Osogbo to FCT High Court No 24, Apo Abuja”.
In a reaction, the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC, Kunle Oyatomi, said that it had no objection to the legally backed relocation, stressing that the mandate given by the people of the state remains with the APC candidate.
“We in the APC have no objection to the relocation of the State’s Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja.
”It is a legal process permitted by the law of Nigeria. We support the movement, so long as it dispenses justice fairly and without favour.
“We like to point out to the PDP and its candidate, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, that by the fact on the ground of the two elections, and the official and legitimate pronouncement of the results of those elections by INEC, the mandate of the people of Osun remains that of Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola and not Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke; not as the PDP is claiming.
“Unless and until that reality is overturned by the courts, the mandate for governorship of the state by Osun people remains that of the APC candidate, Alhaji Oyetola,” APC stated.
Reacting to the relocation, the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke expressed surprised at the relocation.
In a statement, the state Chairman, Soji Adagunodo described the move as a desperate plan by some forces to implement a pre-written script on the proceedings and outcome of its petition before the tribunal.
He said the party was not shocked by the relocation of the sitting in view of statements credited to prominent APC leaders in the last few weeks.
“It is very disappointed that a very important institution like the judiciary would allow itself to be cheaply manipulated by unscrupulous elements in the political space,” he lamented.
The party said it was very probable that those who took the decision without consultation with counsels of the petitioners did so partly to prevent the good people of Osun State from observing the proceedings of the tribunal and also to make it easier for the federal authorities to influence its outcome.
“We want to remind Honourable members of the tribunal of the dictum of the eminent juror, Niki Tobi JSC that ‘The true test of a fair hearing is the impression of a reasonable person who was present at the trial whether from his observation, justice has been done’.
“We also reiterate that apart from the Court of public opinion which the conduct of the tribunal will be subjected to, there is also a burden on the tribunal members to justify the expectations of God from those who hold such sacred offices and who are called upon to do justice without fear or favour”.
The statement, however, expressed hope that the concerned persons and authorities will act speedily on the matter to restore the hope of the common man in the judicial process.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo