The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, on Monday directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant the candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade and the party, access to the documents used for conduct of March 9 gubernatorial election in the state.
Justice Chinwe Onyeabor-led three man panel gave the directive at its inaugural sitting, following a motion ex parte brought before it by Akinlade and APM.
The governorship candidate and APM are challenging the victory of Prince Dapo Abiodun and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), designated as second and third respondents in the Petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/ 01/2019.
In arguing the application, Counsel for the Petitioners, Mamman Osuman, SAN, who appeared with Ahmed Raji, SAN, told the tribunal that the order being sought was necessary to allow the applicants access to the electoral documents used during the election “with a view to maintaining the petition already filed before the tribunal.”
Osuman argued further that the application was filed pursuant to section 151, sub-section 1 and 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
Among other prayers sought were, “An order directing the 1st Respondent to forthwith grant access to the Petitioners/Applicants and their Solicitors, agents, experts and other staff to inspect, photocopy, scan, pay for and obtain certified copies of all documents used by the 1st Respondent for the conduct of the Ogun State Governorship Election held on 9th of March, 2019, for the purpose of instituting and maintaining Election Petition; the said documents being the ones contained in the schedule attached to the Supporting Affidavit to this application;
“An order allowing/permitting the Petitioners/Applicants (for the purpose of instituting and maintaining an Election Petition) to inspect, scan, photocopy, pay for and obtain certified copies of the electoral documents contained in the schedule attached to the Application, same being the documents that are in the custody of and were used by the 1st Respondent in the conduct of the Governorship Election that took place in Ogun State on 9th March, 2019.
“An order directing the 1st Respondent to promptly abide by the orders of this court, made in the terms of the Ex parte application.”
Justice Onyeabor held that the prayers were granted “strictly in compliance to section 151 sub-section 1 and 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and adjourned the case till April 9 for confirmation of service.
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