The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Kogi has given INEC 48 hours to issue certified copies of electoral materials on the Nov. 11 off-cycle election in the state to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
It also ordered INEC to allow SDP’s forensic experts to examine some electoral materials.
The materials include Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and result sheets for Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ogori-Magongo, Ajaokuta, Lokoja, Kogi and Bassa Local Government Areas.
The tribunal ruled on Saturday in Lokoja that the SDP requested the materials to prove its case in the petition it filed against the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the election.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu gave the order following two ex-parte motions filed on Nov. 19 by the SDP and by its governorship candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka.
Justice Birnin-Kudu said the orders became imperative in view of the time constraints the tribunal had to discharge its mandate.
“The order is in compliance with Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and with the Electoral Act (2022).
“INEC is hereby ordered to produce all the documents being sought by the plaintiffs within 48 hours to enable proceedings to go smoothly and without hitches,’’ he declared.
SDP and Yakubu-Ajaka earlier filed seven ex-parte motions to support their demand but withdrew five and pursued two.
Lead counsel to the petitioners, Mr John Adele (SAN), had earlier told the court that efforts made to obtain certified copies of materials used in the six local government areas from INEC had been fruitless.
“Time is of essence in this matter, and that is why we filed the motions to your lordship to help to salvage the situation.
“Each time we approached INEC since Nov. 13, its officials failed to avail us with even one of the electoral materials for which we requested.
“We believe that if your lordship grants our application, INEC will do the needful to enable us to prosecute this case within the time limit,’’ he prayed the tribunal.
Justice Birnin-Kudu adjourned the case to Wednesday, Nov. 29 for submission of report of compliance by INEC and continuation of hearing.
The SDP and Yakubu-Ajaka are challenging the victory of APC and its candidate, Alhaji Usman Ododo at the election petition tribunal.
INEC declared Ododo as winner of the election with 446,237 votes, while his closest rival, Yakubu-Ajaka got 259,052 votes.