By Abasi Ita, Calabar
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Cross River State, Alphonsus Eba
Esq has assured the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar that he will explore his good offices to ensure the refurbishing of the dilapidated Magistrate Court along Moore Road currently harbouring the Tribunal.
Eba stated this in Calabar while reacting to concerns raised by members of the bar over the poor condition of the venue shortly after the inaugural sitting of the second panel saddled with the task of determining petitions emanating from National and State Assembly Elections.
According to Eba, “I quite admit that the venue is in a deplorable state. It’s saddening and embarrassing to me as a lawyer”.
“However, I am going to liaise with the Chief Judge and talk to the governor, so we can urgently address the issue”.
Speaking earlier, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and counsel at the Tribunal, Murtala Abdul Rasheed said the poor condition of the venue is “capable of impeding optimum performance while exposing members to dangerous reptiles from the bushy surroundings”
According to the SAN, “I have observed and had the privilege to attend inaugural sittings in other places, my Lord, this court, this venue is not conducive for the arduous task you have come here to do”.
“All we have here are broken chairs, and ceilings, the fans are not working, the environment is overgrown with weeds and this can be a flourishing ground for dangerous reptiles”.
“My appeal on behalf of the inner bar is that the observation be escalated to the constituted authority, so we can have a better venue that will be enabling for us to carry out our assignment creditably,” he posited.
In his remarks, the chairman of the panel, Justice M.A Smabo lauded the SAN for the observation, stressing however that “the assignment at hand must be done despite the discomfort situation at hand given the limited time at the disposal of the Tribunal.”
“The experience is nothing new to us as we have worked in various jurisdictions with better or worst scenarios.”
“It is a good observation and we are grateful for your comments, we will do our best in trying to see that our welfare is secured.”
About twenty-nine petitions arising from the 2023 general elections are pending before the Tribunal.