Members of the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday stormed the premises of election petition tribunal sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, to protest the sudden disbandment of the panel.
Armed with placards carrying different inscriptions, Barrister Niyi Owolade, a PDP chieftain, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the people expressed dismay over the development.
Owolade explained that the party filed a petition on Tuesday, in which the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Governor-elect, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress, APC, were joined as respondents.
He further explained that while the first respondent, INEC had been served, Oyetola and his party have declined service, which compelled them to file an application for substituted service.
The former Osun State Attorney General said they were taken aback on Thursday morning when officials of the tribunal informed them that the tribunal has been disbanded without giving any reason for such action and without evidence of constituting another soon.
” While we have been able to serve the first respondent, the second and the third respondents declined service so, we brought an application here yesterday for substituted service.
“The application was to have been heard 9am this morning but we were surprised when we heard that the panel has been disbanded. What is even more surprising is that they disbanded a panel without replacement.
“We all know that election petition matters are sui jeneris, our 180days started counting from 16th October, and section 285, sub-section 6 of the 1999 constitution is clear about that.
“By the 180 days duration, final judgement on this matter is to be delivered on or before April 15, 2019, and time is of essence.
” We are surprised that the President of the Appeal Court, who is saddled with the responsibility of constituting election tribunal has not deemed it fit to have put in place a new panel, ” he said.
Owolade demanded immediate constitution of the panel in order to continue with the process without delay.
He stressed that there must never be any vacuum in the pattern of constituting election panel, adding that the people are seriously yearning for justice.
“We are presently in limbo because time is of essence, we want a new panel to be put in place immediately to continue the process, we are appealing to the president of Appeal Court to do the needful”.