The Senator representing Delta South in the National Assembly, Senator Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, has filed a petition against the Chairman of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal in Asaba (Panel 3) to the President of the Court of Appeal.
The petition addresses the failure to release the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment for petition NO: EPT/DL/SEN/01/2023- DIDEN MICHAEL & ANOR v. INEC & ORS, delivered on September 6, 2023.
The petition, signed by Robert Emukpoeruo SAN, the legal counsel to the Delta South APC senatorial candidate in the 2023 election, on September 11, 2023, highlights that the legal team requested the CTC one day after the judgment was announced (September 7, 2023) and paid the required fee to the registrar but encountered unexpected resistance.
According to the counsel, who is exercising the respondent’s constitutional right to meet the 60-day deadline stipulated for the Appellate Court to review and deliver judgment under section 285(7) of the 1999 constitution, the Secretary and Chairman of the Tribunal appear to be obstructing justice.
While he appealed to the President of the Appeal Court to intervene, he emphasized the importance of filing the appeal promptly to give the Appellate Court sufficient time to deliver justice without being constrained by time limitations.
The petition titled, “NON-RELEASE OF JUDGMENT DELIVERED ON 6th SEPTEMBER 2023 IN PETITION NO: EPT/DL/SEN/01/2023- DIDEN MICHAEL & ANOR v. INEC & ORS,” read partly.
“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 judgment 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 and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal, holden in Asaba (Panel 3) delivered judgment 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 judgment with a view to our client preparing and filing his notice and grounds appeal against the judgment. 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 judgment we have embarked on a daily pilgrimage to the Registry of the Tribunal for the certified true copy of the judgment only to be met by the blunt statement of the Tribunal’s Secretary that the Chairman of the Tribunal has not yet released the judgment!
“Today the 11th day of September 2023 makes it the sixth [6th] day out of the constitutionally limited period of sixty  days from the delivery of the judgment 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 judgment!
“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 judgment delivered in the aforesaid matter.
“Please accept the assurances of our most esteemed regards and best wishes.”
Recall that on last week’s Wednesday, September 6, 2023, the tribunal judge, Justice Catherine Ogunsanya, declared the election of Sen Joel-Onowakpo Thomas inconclusive and ordered a rerun in Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State after dismissing the petition filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA) candidate, Hon George Timinimi.