Osun State Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola against the declaration of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor-elect has adjourned sitting till Tuesday, October 4, for the proper commencement of pre-hearing.
The adjournment followed the decision of the tribunal to grant INEC, PDP and Adeleke 7-days to respond to the pre-hearing form served on them by the tribunal.
At the sitting of the tribunal, counsel for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Kayode Olagoke, (SAN), had informed the court of his readiness to continue with pre-hearing session, having filed his form TF008, where issues for determination were raised.
On the request of the tribunal for advice, Olagoke suggested that the matter should be stood down for few hours for the respondents to also respond to the tribunal pre-hearing form.
Counsel for INEC, Paul Ananaba, (SAN), pleaded with the Tribunal to give him seven days to respond to the pre-hearing form as he had just been served at the sitting.
Counsel for Adeleke, Bamidele Abolarin, and counsel representing the PDP, Nathaniel Oke, (SAN), also requested the tribunal to give them the required seven days to respond.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, adjourned the matter till Tuesday, October 4, for proper commencement of hearing.
Addressing journalists after the sitting, Professor Olagoke said the adjournment was not out of place and that the tribunal has the power to abridge the days required for any of the parties to respond.
“We were supposed to commence the Pre-hearing session this morning but unfortunately the respondents said they were served with the pre-hearing notice this morning.
“Form TF007 will inform the parties, while TF008 is the one they are going to respond to. But they said they served them this morning and for that, they have to respond. But election petition being too sui generis and time sensitive, that is why we were suggesting we could take a stand down for them to fill the forms so that we come back for pre-hearing in the afternoon. But they insisted on having their right.
“But in order to be fair to them, that was why the tribunal adjourned till next week for them to take their time, fill the form and come back for pre-hearing session.”
On the seeming delay tactic adopted by the respondents, the petitioner’s counsel said, ” When we get to the bridge, we cross it. We are all veterans in this business. You will see what will happen thereafter. It is because this one has to do with fair hearing and we wouldn’t want anyone to be asking for the proceedings to get set aside because they were not given the required number (of days)”.