The Peoples Democratic Party has called on the National Judicial Council to probe the sudden relocation of the sitting of the Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to Abuja.
The party, in a statement by its State Chairman, Soji Adagunodo on Sunday in Osogbo, said the tribunal was relocated without informing counsel to the petitioner.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Secretary to the Tribunal, Mr. Adamu Aliyu, in a statement on Saturday in Osogbo, announced the relocation of its sitting to Abuja.
Reason for the relocation of the sittings of the three-man panel to Abuja was not stated in the notice dated November 9.
“This is to inform the general public that the sitting of the Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has been relocated from High Court of Justice Complex, Osogbo, to FCT High Court No. 24, Apo, Abuja.”
When contacted, Adamu told NAN that both parties involved in the case asked the tribunal to relocate to Abuja for security reasons.
“Yes, it is true that the tribunal has been relocated to Abuja. Both parties (APC and PDP) requested that the tribunal be relocated to Abuja for security reasons,” Adamu said.
But PDP said the relocation of the tribunal was another sign that there was “a desperate and evil plan” by some forces to implement a pre-written script on the proceedings and outcome of its petition before the tribunal.
Adagunodo said the decision to relocate the sitting was without any justifiable reason.
He added that there had been no reports that could have necessitated the action.
“It is very probable that those who took the decision without consultation with counsel of the petitioners did so partly to prevent the good people of Osun State from observing the proceedings of the tribunal.
“We want to remind honorable members of the tribunal of the dictum of the eminent jurist, Niki Tobi, JSC, that the true test of a fair hearing is the impression of a reasonable person who was present at the trial, whether from his observation justice has been done.
“On our part as a party, we will continue to invite the attention of the National Judicial Council, leaders of thought and the international community to the happenings in Osun State and state what these portend for the 2019 general elections.
“We are hopeful that the concerned persons and authorities will act speedily on this matter and restore the hope of the common man in Osun State in the judicial process.”
NAN reports that Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, is challenging the outcome of the September 22 governorship election in which Gboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the APC, was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Oyetola scored 255,505 votes, to defeat Adeleke who polled 255,023 votes.