The Independent National Electoral Commission has appealed against the judgement of Justice T. A. Kume led Election Petition Tribunal in Osun State on 44 grounds.
In a notice of appeal made available to Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday, the commission sought an order of the Appeal Court to set aside the entire decision of the trial Tribunal and dismiss and strike out the petition for want of competence and jurisdiction.
In the petition filed by the party electoral body legal luminary, Paul Ananaba (SAN), at the court of appeal in Akure, the appellant argued that the Tribunal misconstrued Section 47(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, which must be read purposefully, communally and holistically to arrive at the true intention of the legislature and justice.
The judgement delivered by the lower Tribunal for the conduct of the Osun state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Osogbo on Friday, the 27th day of January 2023 is nullified.
“The judgment is not a complete judgment of the said Election Petition.
Tribunal Member 2 was one of the members of the said Tribunal who heard the petition but did not reduce her judgment or opinion in writing capable of being delivered on the day fixed for the delivery of the judgment.
“Each member of the Tribunal must express their opinion in writing.
The judgment breaches Section 294 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). The Judgment delivered by HON. TERTSEA AORGA KUME was jointly signed on the last page of the judgment by Tribunal Member 2 RABI BASHIR (Chief Magistrate).
“Section 294 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not admit of joint judgments. The judgment of the Tribunal herein is incurably a nullity for being in breach of the said Section 294 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The electoral body stressed that the election petition tribunal erred in law by failing to consider and rule on the various preliminary objections filed by the 1st respondent challenging the competency of the petition and jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the petition but proceeded to determine the merit of the petition.
“The lower Tribunal erred in law when they failed to consider and rule on the various preliminary objections filed by the 1 Respondent/Appellant challenging the competency of the petition and jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the petition but proceeded to determine the merit of the petition.
“On the particulars of error, “It is trite law that preliminary objections that touch on the competency of the petition and the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is a threshold issue that must be determined before the Tribunal can assume jurisdiction to determine the merit of the petition.
“The preliminary objections filed by the 1 Respondent appellant were adjourned to be delivered alongside the judgment on the petition. The Honourable Tribunal ought to determine the preliminary objections of the 1st respondent before going into the merit of the petition.
Failure of the Tribunal to consider and decide the preliminary objections of the 1st Respondent/Appellant amounts to a denial of fair hearing and occasioned a miscarriage of justice as the objections would have terminated the life of the petition”, it submitted