Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the Court of Appeal, has directed that all ongoing cases from the 36 states of the federation concerning the outcome of the 2023 elections be transferred to the appellate court’s Lagos and Abuja divisions.
According to the direction, all such ongoing matters originating from the verdicts of the various state petition election petition tribunals would now be considered and determined by judges only in the Lagos and Abuja divisions.
The order has an impact on gubernatorial, national, and state assembly elections.
Dongban-Mensem’s directive for only two of the court’s 20 divisions to decide all appellate cases arising from tribunal disputes is said to have been informed by a slew of petitions and protests from political parties and candidates alleging that the judges of the tribunals were heavily compromised by the governors during the trial stage in their respective states.
The Court of Appeal President was stated to have conducted discreet investigations into the claims levelled against the trial tribunal’s governors and judges, establishing the presence of some ‘unholy alliances’ that could have resulted in a miscarriage of justice at the tribunals.
Some tribunal judges were reportedly indicted and could stand trial by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Speaking on the development, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, a member of the House of Representatives representing Warri Federal Constituency, was reported by TVC as saying he appreciated the move as long as it ensured fair and unbiased judgements.
He did, however, mention the financial repercussions of the cases being transferred.
“We have the notice transferring the cases from Delta State to Lagos and we have complied. Its financial implications are huge but no sacrifice is too much to get a fair and impartial judgement,” Ereyitomi said.
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