The election petition between Hon, Nkiruka Onyejiocha and Honourable Amobi Ogah came up today for hearing at the Abia election tribunal sitting at the National Judiciary Institute Abuja. At commencement, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Halima Saleeman drew everyone’s attention to the petition written against the Tribunal to the President of the Court of Appeal by Honurable Amobi Ogah seeking a transfer of the Petition to another Panel for determination.
The Chairman directed the Registrar to read out the petition after which all Counsel reacted to the petition. The Petitioners Counsel, Oluwadare Esq. frowned at the content of the letter and urged the Tribunal to disregard the petition and continue with the hearing of the suit.
However, Chief Umeh Kalu, SAN who is lead Counsel for the Labour Party observed that the petition was not addressed to the Tribunal but to the President of the Court of Appeal who has supervisory role over the Tribunal and further urged that the Tribunal abate further hearing of the matter pending the decision of the President of the Court of Appeal on the Petition. INEC’s Counsel on his part aligned himself with the position of the Petitioners Counsel.
Mr Ken Ahia, SAN representing Mr Amobi Ogah took exception to the seeming alliance between the Petitioner counsel and the INEC counsel in proceedings and further aligned himself with the position of Umeh Kalu, SAN that the tribunal ceases further entertainment of the suit until the decision on the Petition to transfer is considered by the President of the Court of Appeal.
The Tribunal Chairman denied having visited the Petitioner as alleged in the Petition and adjourned further proceedings in the matter to the 30th day of May, 2023 for report on the decision of the President of the Court of Appeal.
During the Tribunal proceeding, Honourable Amobi Ogah was present while Honourable Nkiruka Onyejiocha was absent.