Senator Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, representative of Delta South Senatorial District, has urged the President of Nigeria’s Court of Appeal to intervene and ensure the release of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of a judgement by the National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal Panel 3.
The judgement in question concerns petition number EPT/DL/SEN/01/2023-Diden Michael & ANOR v INEC & ORS, and its release is currently being withheld by the tribunal’s Chairman.
The appeal was made through a petition drafted by the Senator’s lawyer, Robert Emukpoeruo of Summit Law Chambers.
The petition draws attention to the fact that the tribunal had earlier instructed a rerun election in Warri South Local Government Area within 90 days, a decision that Senator Joel-Onowakpo wishes to contest.
However, the lack of access to the CTC of the judgement is hindering the Senator’s efforts to challenge the ruling.
The petition further emphasized that the delay in releasing the CTC of the judgement is eating into the constitutionally-limited 60-day period for the Court of Appeal to hear and decide on the Senator’s appeal.
The Senator’s legal team is therefore appealing for the immediate release of the judgement to avoid infringing on their client’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to appeal.
According to the petition, “We act as Counsel to Senator Joel-Onowakpo Thomas Ewomazino, the 2nd Respondent in the above petition and we have his instructions to bring to your Lordship’s attention the failure to release upon application the judgement of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal Panel 3 sitting in Asaba in the aforesaid matter.
“On the 6th of September 2023, the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal,Holden in Asaba (Panel 3) delivered judgement in the above petition in which it ordered a rerun of the Delta South Senatorial District Election.
“We immediately applied for the Certified True Copy of the said judgement with a view to our client preparing and filing his notice and grounds appeal against the judgement. A copy of the duly acknowledged letter is herewith attached showing that our application was received on the 7th of September 2023.”
“Since the day of delivery of the judgement we have embarked on a daily pilgrimage to the Registrar of the Tribunal for the Certified True Copy of the judgement only to be met by the blunt statement of the Tribunal’s Secretary that the Chairman of the Tribunal has not yet released the judgement!
“Today the 11th day of September 2023 makes it the sixth(6th) day out of the constitutionally limited period of the sixty (60) days from the delivery of the judgement for the Court of Appeal to hear and determine our client’s appeal pursuant to the provisions of Section 285(7) of the 1999 Constitution and our client still does not have the judgement!
“In other that our client’s constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal is not truncated entirely and the Court of Appeal itself is not placed under an intolerable time constrain to hear and determine our proposed appeal we most humbly appeal to your noble Lord to prevail on or and direct the Chairman of the Tribunal aforesaid to immediately release the judgement delivered in the aforesaid matter”.