The Delta State All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate in the 2019 House of Representatives election, Prince Collins Eselemo, has asked the President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to probe the state election petition tribunal members over an alleged misconduct.
While addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, Eselemo lamented that the tribunal delivered judgment on his petition against the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Nichola Mutu, after he sought the transfer of his case to another court.
He stressed that the tribunal delivered the ruling in his absence with the claim that he abandoned his petition.
The APC candidate explained that he had, in a petition dated June 26,2019, asked the Court of Appeal President to transfer his election petition to another tribunal because he believed the tribunal members would not give him justice.
He said while waiting for the case to be transferred by the Appeal Court President, he was shocked to learn that his case had been dismissed by the tribunal.
Instead of handing off the case as prayed, Eselemo said the tribunal members went ahead to deliver a ruling on July 26, 2019.
The APC candidate showed reporters a copy of the response from the Court of Appeal President acknowledging his petition and assuring him that action would be taken on his request.
The letter with reference number, PCA/EPT/2019/Vol.V, dated July 3, was received by the APC candidate on July 25, a day after the ruling was delivered.
The letter, signed by Bulkachuwa’s Secretary, Mrs. E. Ehilor, read in part: “I am directed by the Hon. President, Court of Appeal, to inform you that she was not on seat when your petition was brought as she had traveled out of the country for official assignment hence, the delay in addressing your petition. It is now being considered for further action.”
Eselomo lamented that: “I appeal to the President, Court of Appeal, to set up a panel to handle my election petition. What the Delta state election petition tribunal did was an ambush, illegal and totally against the due process and laws of natural justice.”
When contacted on phone for response, the tribunal secretary Suraju Gusau declined comments.
Gusau said every inquiries should be directed to the Appeal Court President.
“The Appeal Court President has the details of everything, please contact her for clarification,” Gusau stated on the phone.