Justice Abbas Bawale, Chairman of the Governorship and National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Sokoto State, on Thursday warned counsels to discourage their clients from “trying to seek judicial favours”.
Bawale gave the warning in the tribunal’s inaugural sitting in the petition filed by All Progressives Congress Governorship candidate, Ahmad Aliyu challenging the return of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Peoples Democratic Party.
Justice Bawale said, “The tribunal has specific rules. We shall do our best to discharge our responsibilities consciously in accordance with dictates of the oath we took as judges and tribunal members.
“We urge counsels to speak to their clients to refrain from trying to reach out. I want to warn you that this will not be of any use.
“We shall at all times, be just in the discharge of our assignment,” Bawale said.
He added, ” If a party is not satisfied with any step taken by the tribunal on his matter, his counsel knows what to do to ventilate his grievance” Justice Bawale added.
Bawale said that the tribunal would sit weekdays only from 9:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m and would take a break for one hour to resume at 2: 30 p.m.
He urged Counsel to accord maximum support and cooperation to the tribunal members in the discharge their responsibilities within the stipulated 180 days.
In their separate response, lead Counsel to Aliyu; Chief Alex Izion, SAN, Mr Tanimu Inuwa, SAN for Independent National Electoral Commission; Mr Sunday Ahmed, SAN, for Tambuwal and Mr Olumuyiwa Akinboro, SAN, for the PDP, assured members of their support.
They agreed to filed and exchange, settle all pre-hearing correspondence within the 14 days pre-hearing period.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the main governorship election held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75, 403 votes which were higher than the 3, 413 votes margin between the leading candidates.
A rerun was conducted on March 23, and Tambuwal won with a slim margin of 342 votes.
Unsatisfied with the outcome, Aliyu approached the tribunal challenging the return of Tambuwal as the governor-elect, on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities and he did not score the majority of the lawful votes.