Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Monday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant the candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), AbdulKabir Adekunle Akinlade, and his party access to the documents used for conduct of March 9 election in the state.
Justice Chinwe Onyeabor-led three man panel gave the order at its inaugural sitting in Abeokuta, following a motion ex parte filed by the Akinlade and the party.
In the petition marked EPT/06/GOV/01/2019, the petitioners are challenging the victory of Dapo Abiodun and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which were joined in the application as second and third respondents.
In his address, the petitioners’ counsel, Mamman Osuman (SAN), who appeared with Ahmed Raji (SAN), told the tribunal that the order became imperative to allow the applicants access the electoral documents “with a view to maintaining the petition already filed before the tribunal.”
The application, according to him, was brought 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.”
In granting the orders, Justice Onyeabor said the prayers were granted “strictly in compliance to Section 151 sub-section 1 and 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The tribunal, however, adjourned its sitting till April 9 for confirmation of service.