By Amaechi Okwara
Ahead of the local government elections scheduled for January 6, 2018, Delta state judiciary has constituted Election Petition Tribunal and Local Government Council Election Petition Appeal Tribunal, to hear and determine petitions that may arise from the contest.
State Chief Judge, Justice Marshal Umukoro, who inaugurated the 18 member election petition tribunals, including three Judges who would sit on appeal in Asaba the state capital, challenged them to deliver judgment strictly on law and facts, devoid of any extraneous considerations.
Justice Umukoro reminded the members of section 130(2) and 130(3) of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission Law, 2017.
He, however, charged the 18 member election tribunal to deliver its judgment in writing within the stipulated 180 days period from the date of filing of the petition, while Appeal Tribunal shall do same within 90 days from the date of delivery of judgment of the tribunal.
The Chief Judge emphasised that their appointment was based on their records of hard work, honesty and diligence, saying they should not perform below expectations as Deltans, as petitioners and respondents, were looking up to them to deliver judgments according to evidence and law placed before them.
Umukoro enjoined members to remain focused and not to be distracted by acts of blackmailers, rumour mongers, hate speech merchants and a section of social media who he said review evidence and deliver judgment in consonance with the figments of their imagination.
The Chief Judge also warned that appropriate disciplinary measures and sanctions would be imposed on any member who breached the subscribed oath of office in the face of verified complaints and petitions.
Responding on behalf of members of the tribunals, Justice Maidoh thanked the Chief Judge for deeming them fit for the onerous task and promised to justify the confidence reposed on them to handle petitions brought before them on merit, irrespective of the parties involved.