The Ekiti state governorship election petition tribunal has been moved out of the state. to a yet to be named place.
Chairman of the tribunal, Suleiman Belgore, announced this after considering an application made by Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adelodun had asked that asked that the panel move its sittings from the state high court to the nation’s capital. He said Ekiti state is unsafe for such sitting.
His words: “My lord, on our way to the tribunal, we were accosted by some crowds with sticks. We were on a spot for several minutes until a senior police officer came to us.
“We have to be safe first, in life, safety comes first, we are professionals and we move around to do out job. Sir, we hereby request that this sitting should be shifted to another venue, probably Abuja because of safety.”
Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), agreed with Adewole, saying he experienced similar things.
“It has happened before, some four years ago, it happened. My colleague who is now the governor of Ondo state appeared then, he was stoned. So I also support that Abuja as an alternative venue.”
Charles Edohosa, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), agreed with the counsel of the PDP.
After a recess, Belgore, with other members of the panel, Ebiyerin Omukoro and Aliyu Usman, granted the application.
“We have considered the issue considerately, and we are mindful of the consequences. There is security implications on the lives of the counsels and we cannot allow this,” he said.
“So on this, there is merit to this application, and it has been granted. The new venue and date will be communicated to all counsels within 48 hours.”
He urged lawyers to parties to maintain decorum and not engage in the use of any “delay tactics” to slow down proceedings.
Belgore said the panel would be guided by the 1999 constitution (as amended), electoral act 2010 (as amended), federal high court civil procedure rules and practice direction as issued by the president of the court of appeal.