The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Enugu has adjourned its pre-hearing session over the alleged NYSC certificate forgery case against Governor Peter Mbah to June 13 for continuation.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice K. M Akano, announced the adjournment at the end of Thursday’s sitting.
In her ruling, Akano granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the right to reply to the petitioner’s application in three days.
The tribunal is hearing the petition filed by Mr. Chijioke Edoga, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, against Mbah of the PDP and INEC.
Edoga is praying the tribunal disqualify Mba over the alleged NYSC certificate forgery.
Responding to the ruling, the petitioner’s counsel, Mr. S. T. Hon said in spite of the ruling, the court should not go back and start pre-hearing again.
Hon explained that pre-hearing had already commenced on June 2, because pre-hearing information have been exchanged between parties.
The counsel urged the court to enforce the mandatory provision of paragraph 18(9) of the Electoral Act.
“You are enjoined to enforce the mandatory provision of paragraph 18(9) of the Electoral Act. There was a pre-hearing notice issued on May 23 on the petitioners.
“For the fact that certain motions and processes were moved doesn’t mean that pre-hearing has not started,” he said.
Counsel to the PDP, Mr. Paul Onyia, said the pre-hearing had not commenced, adding that the court had given them three days to file their plea.
Onyia said it was expected that a date would be specifically given for the commencement of pre-hearing.
Mr. Anthony Ani (SAN), Counsel to Governor Mba, said that in the ruling, the 2nd respondent had three days to file for further pleading, adding that pre-hearing would commence on the close of the pleading.