In a disturbing incident yesterday being 4th December 2023, the Secretary of the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal faced a harrowing attack by political thugs in Lokoja, raising concerns about the safety of judges, lawyers, and tribunal workers involved in the crucial legal proceedings.
The assault occurred while the Secretary held copies of the election petition filed on December 2, 2023, by the legal team of Alhaji Murtala Yakubu and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Notably, the petition, numbered EPT/KG/Gov/03/2023, was submitted well within the 21-day timeframe prescribed by Section 285 (5) of the 1999 Constitution, following the declaration of the Kogi State Governorship Election results on November 12, 2023.
The petition, submitted in three volumes, has faced unwarranted controversy, with an alleged non-partisan NGO disseminating misleading information about its timely filing.
Despite being duly paid for, completed copies submitted, and security deposits made, the legal team faces baseless allegations, possibly orchestrated by political interests.
Expressing concern over the orchestrated misinformation, Otumba Olumofin J.S Okutepa SAN, a legal practitioner on the filing team, criticized the actions of the alleged NGO, questioning the motives behind their unprofessional conduct.
Furthermore, Okutepa raised alarm about the deteriorating political climate in Kogi State, accusing anti-democratic forces of obstructing the examination of the November 11, 2023 election.
The attacks against the Tribunal Secretary and the subsequent seizure of the petition exemplify a blatant interference with the judicial process, requiring urgent attention from the federal government of Nigeria (FG)
The legal practitioner urged the Nigerian Bar Association to intervene promptly, emphasizing the need for the Federal Government to address the escalating situation in Kogi State.
With concerns for the safety of lawyers and judges involved in the case, Okutepa emphasized the duty of the government to prevent further chaos in the state.
As Kogi State teeters on the brink of political unrest, Nigerians await decisive action from the Federal Government to restore order and safeguard the integrity of the judicial process.
The call to action comes amidst growing tensions and concerns over the blatant disregard for democratic norms in the state.