The Edo State Labour Party Chairmanship Candidate for Oredo Local Government Area, Mr. Yosanto Daniel Ero, has written to the Chief Judge of the State, requesting the urgent establishment of a Local Government Election Tribunal in the state.
By a letter dated September 13, 2023, which was also copied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Ero expressed deep concern and growing frustration regarding the setting up of the Local Government Election Tribunal to address disputes arising from the recently concluded Edo State Local Government Elections, which took place on September 2, 2023.
He emphasized that Section 78 of the Edo State Local Government Election Law, 2012, mandates the Chief Judge of Edo State to establish election tribunals promptly after an election to address and resolve disputes arising from the electoral process.
See the full letter below:
URGENT REQUEST FOR THE IMMEDIATE ESTABLISHMENT OF A LOCAL
GOVERNMENT ELECTION TRIBUNAL IN LINE WITH SECTION 78 OF THE EDO STATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION LAW, 2012
1 am a concerned Chairmanship Candidate of the Labour Party in the recently concluded Edo State Local Government Elections, which took place on Saturday, September 2, 2023, and the results were declared on Sunday, September 3, 2023, and Iwrite ni respect of the above subject.
I am writing to express my deep concern and growing frustration regarding the delayed establishment of a Local Government Election Tribunal to entertain election petitions emanating from the Local Government Elections as mandated by Section 78 of the Edo State Local Government Election Law, 2012 (as amended).
As you are undoubtedly aware, Section 78 of the Edo State Local Government Election Law, 2012, unequivocally obligates you, My Lord, the Honourable, the Chief Judge of Edo State, to establish election tribunals promptly after an election to address and resolve disputes arising from the electoral process. This provision is not merely a legal formality but a fundamental pillar of our democratic system, essential for ensuring fairness, justice, and the rule of law.
The recently held Edo State Local Government Elections were marred by voter suppression, violence, and serious irregularities. The Elections have therefore raised serious disputes and grievances among the candidates, including myself, who participated in this crucial democratic exercise. It is in this regard that I promptly informed my legal team to take steps to challenge the overall conduct and ultimate outcome of the Elections.
Regrettably, 10 (ten) days (and counting] after the official declaration of the election results by the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) on Sunday, September 3, 2023, there has been no official proclamation from Your Lordship towards the establishment of the mandated Local Government Election Tribunal. If indeed a Local Government Election Tribunal has been established, this information has not been made public.
My lawyers also confirm that they have made inquiries at the Edo State Judiciary Headquarters and that there is no office or registry for receiving election petitions.
As a result, I have been unable to exercise my right of access to a court of competent jurisdiction within a reasonable time to ventilate my claims and seek redress.
This delay is not only a blatant disregard for the Edo State Local Government Election Lawand the confidence reposed in the Judiciaryto safeguard ourdemocratic principles, it is also a breach of my constitutional right of access to court. This is in view of the fact that Section 85 of the same Edo State Local Government Election Law, 2012, provides aggrieved candidates with a limited timeframe of 30 days to file their petitions. With each passing day, the precious time for petitioners to seek redress is slipping away, and this egregious lapse threatens to undermine the very foundations of justice and fairness in our electoral process.
The establishment of the Local Government Election Tribunal is a mandate bestowed on Your Lordship by the Constitution; it is therefore my firm expectation, as well as that of other contestants in the just concluded Local Government Electionsand the Edo State electorate at large, that this Tribunal would have been set up long before the day of the elections and kicked into operation immediately following the declaration of the election results.
My Lord, it is my fervent hope that you do not intend to shirk this all-important responsibility bestowed on you by our very Constitution and that you shall take immediate steps, without further delay, to set up and communicate the setting up of the Edo State Local Government Election Tribunal, to all relevant parties and the citizens of Edo State as a matter of utmost urgency.
I thank Your Lordship in anticipation of your immediate attention to this pressing matter.
Yosanto Daniel Ero
Labour Party Chairmanship Candidate for Oredo Local Government Area
The Chief Justice of Nigeria/Chairman National Judicial Council
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