The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has demanded an explanation over the alleged disbandment of the election petition tribunal set up to treat all grievances arising from the September governorship election in the state.
The tribunal was set up by the judiciary to address the grievances arising from the Sept. 22 poll and the election re-run of Sept. 27.
PDP members on Thursday besieged the venue of the election tribunal sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, to protest the alleged disbandment with placards bearing different inscriptions.
A PDP chieftain, Mr Niyi Owolade, who addressed newsmen expressed dismay over the development.
He said PDP members were taken aback on Thursday morning when officials of the tribunal informed them that the tribunal had been disbanded without advancing any reason and without evidence of constituting another panel soon.
“While we have been able to serve the first respondent, the second and the third respondents declined service so, we brought an application here yesterday for substituted service.
“The application was to have been heard by 9.00 a.m. this morning but we were surprised when we heard that the panel has been disbanded. What is even more surprising is that they disbanded a panel without replacement.
“We all know that election petition matters are sui jeneris, our 180days started counting from 16th October, and section 285, sub-section 6 of the 1999 constitution is clear about that.
“By the 180 days duration, the final judgment on this matter is to be delivered on or before April 15, 2019, and the time is of the essence.
“We are surprised that the President of Appeal Court, who is saddled with the responsibility of constituting election tribunal has not deemed it fit to have put in place a new panel”, he said.
Owolade who is also a lawyer explained that the party filed a petition on Tuesday, in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Governor-elect, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), were joined as respondents.
He said while the first respondent, INEC had been served, Oyetola and his party have declined service, which compelled them to file an application for substituted service.
PDP demands another panel
The former Osun State Attorney General thereby demanded immediate constitution of the panel in order to continue with the process without delay.
“We are presently in limbo because time is of an essence, we want a new panel to be put in place immediately to continue the process, we are appealing to the president of Appeal Court to do the needful”.
Owolade stressed that there must never be any vacuum in the pattern of constituting election panel, adding that Nigerians are earnestly demanding for justice.