The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has tasked election tribunal officers numbering 350 to live above board during their service in the forthcoming elections.
She cautioned that if any of them compromised the system, they would not only be relieved of their service but would be prosecuted in line with recommendations by the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
The PCA gave the warning in Abuja at a two-day capacity-building workshop for those who would serve as officials of the election tribunals.
Stressing the importance of functional registries to the effectiveness of election tribunals, the PCA stated that the training was aimed at preparing the officials for the task ahead.
She said, “It is part of your obligation to discharge your duties with utmost good faith and not be carried away by little advances.
“Your integrity and that of the tribunal, and its members are in the public searchlight; you must therefore ensure you are not used as weapons to truncate the process.
“Ensure to live above boards so that you will not put the Judiciary into disrepute.
“Do not see it as an opportunity to make money to enrich yourselves, but rather, go there to build your name and your future as it is literally said that a good name is better than silver and gold.
“The court will not hesitate to deal with anyone found wanting in this regard.
“It is equally important to remind you that you must constantly relate with the Election Petition Tribunal Unit at the Headquarters at intervals and report matters you are uncertain about to forestall breaches in communication.
“For the sake of emphasis, it is important to state that petitions before the tribunals are time bound.
“It is therefore your utmost responsibility to ensure processes are properly and timely filed once they are brought to the Registry to forestall administrative injustice to the Parties before such matters are adjudicated.
“You must count yourselves worthy to have been chosen to perform in this regard.
“Our choice is premised on trust, competence and confidence the court has in you, which I pray you do not erode while discharging your duties at the tribunal.
“Let me, once again, mention that the work ahead is enormous and you must indeed brace up for the challenges ahead,” the PCA said.
Justice Dongban-Mensem added, “The Registry is a very important organ of an Election Petition Tribunal and its administrative duties include the receipt of the petition and other court processes for filing, service of court processes timeously on parties, issuance of hearing notices, preparation of court proceedings and orders, custody and safekeeping of the tribunals’ documents, a compilation of records among various other duties and responsibilities.
“The effectiveness, quality, efficiency, transparency and speed of the Registry has a direct impact on the performance and justice delivery of the election tribunal.”