By Emmanuel Adeleke
The President of the Court of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensem has directed that all appeals emanating from election petition cases across the country be transferred to Abuja and Lagos divisions.
The order affects gubernatorial, national and state assemblies’ elections, which held between February and March 2023.
Although the appeals from the various state tribunals are supposed to be heard across the 20 appellate courts in the country, only two divisions of the court would preside over the election appeals.
The Abuja division will handle appeals from 19 northern states while 17 southern states’ cases would be heard in Lagos.
The directive was issued following allegations and petitions against state tribunal judges.
Some political parties and their candidates had alleged that the judges at the state tribunals had been compromised by governors.
The aggrieved parties also expressed concerns that they may suffer the same fate, if the appeals are to be determined in the various states.
The transfer of the appeals is aimed at guaranteeing the independence, integrity and impartiality of the appellate court.
The appeal court president said having fewer divisions handle all cases will enable her effectively oversee the judges.
Parties and their counsels are said to be complying with the fresh directive and moving their files to the two cities despite the huge costs.