The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem on Monday warned Election Petitions Secretaries (EPT) and support staff to resist advances that could lead to misconduct.
Dongban-Mensem gave the warning at the opening of a two-day training and workshop on capacity building for secretaries and other support staff of the EPT.
The theme of the workshop is ` challenges arising from election tribunal and the way for’
” This training consists of scintillating topical issues that will in no small measure prepare you for your assignment.
”I therefore urge you to pay rapt attention to every detail of it so that you can be well equipped and informed of your roles as Tribunal Secretaries and support staff as elaborated in the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) and the Election Judicial Proceedings Practice Direction, 2022.
” This training will serve as a forum for you to share experiences with one another wherein guidance will be provided and strategies devised for the strengthening of the Tribunals” she said.
Elections, she said, play a very vital role in a democratic system of government as it gives the citizens the chance to choose their leaders.
” It is part of your obligation to discharge your duties with utmost good faith and not be carried away by little advances.
” Your integrity and that of the Tribunal and its members are in the public searchlight, you must therefore ensure you are not used as weapons to truncate the process.
”Ensure to live above board so that you will not put the Judiciary into disrepute” she said.
She further warned participants to see the training as a call to serve the nation and not to enrich self.
“Do not see it as an opportunity to make money to enrich yourselves but rather go there to build your name and your future as it is literally said that a good name is better than silver and gold.
” The court will not hesitate to deal with anyone found wanting in this regard” she said.
Speaking, Mrs May Agbamuche- Mbu, Commissioner who represented Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman, INEC pledged the commission’s support.
” The capacity building workshop is geared at equipping you with requesite knowledge needed for you to carry out the task required for the proper and orderly function of election petitions.
” The registry is the administrative hub of the EPT proceedings.
” It is of utmost importance therefore that you pay attention to the enabling laws which empower you in the performace of yoyr duty” he said.
Similarly, Mr Seray Jah, country director, International foundation for electoral systems (IFES) one of collaborating partners expressed great joy at the development.
He commended the leadership of the court of appeal.
” This is the first time we are bringing out the secretariat who I might call the foot soldiers of a successful tribunal in any country, I think, it is a testimony of the president of court of appeal.
” It is nit onlyvto enhance the capacity of justices and judges but also, to enhance that of the people who are usually unmentioned when the tribunal is very successful.
” So, we are ver much happy to be here the unique role played by EPT registry and support staff can not be over emphasised.
” They contribute greatly to the smooth running of the EPT thereby, increasing the crediblity and integrity of the court in resolving election disputes” he said.
Speaking also, Mr Kabiru Akanbi, Deputy Chief Registrar, Headquarters / Election Petition Tribunal said:’ we have developed a software for the management of EPT cases.
” Here, you will be taught how the software works” he said.
According to him, there are a total of 350 participants deputy registrars inclusive and drawn from various divisions of the court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Court of Appeal is the penultimate Court empowered to establish such Tribunals and have the Registries opened at least seven (7) days before the election.
The Registry is saddled with the administrative responsibilities of the Tribunal and is headed by a Secretary who is the Principal Administrative Staff.
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