The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the immediate reconstitution of the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, where the opposition party warned that any further delay would jeopardize the course of justice in the matter.
The statement noted that the disbanding of the panel, if not quickly addressed, would send a bad signal on the integrity of the judiciary.
“We invite Nigerians to note that in our lawful effort to reclaim our stolen mandate, PDP duly filed its petition on Tuesday, October 15, 2018, in accordance with section 285 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which prescribed that judgment must be delivered on or before 180 days,” the PDP said.
“While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was served, the APC and its candidate [allegedly] evaded service,” it added,
“Consequently, the PDP on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, applied for substituted service, which was slated for hearing today, Thursday, October 18, 2018, only to be informed that the panel has been disbanded on Wednesday without any reason and without providing a new panel to hear our matter.”
The party told the President of the Court of Appeal that disbanding the panel without setting up a new one would be “a deliberate attempt” to prevent the PDP from serving the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, as well as meet the constitutional 180-day timeframe for the determination of the case at the tribunal.
“Election petition matters are sui generis, with specific timeframe allotted to various stages up to the final determination,” it said.
“The failure to set up a new panel to timeously hear our application for substituted service on APC and its candidate smacks of a shenanigan to deny our party full justice in the matter.”
The PDP, therefore, urged the President of the Court of Appeal not to bow to pressure and avoid acts that are capable of dragging the reputation of the judiciary in the mud.
It also called on concerned individuals and relevant organisations to rise against any force working against justice in the land.