Gyang Bere, Jos
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to supply to the PDP governorship candidate, Sen. Jeremiah Useni all the relevant documents he needs to support his petition filed before the tribunal.
This followed an oral application made by senior counsel to the petitioners Barr Edward G. Pwajok, SAN, during sitting.
He informed the tribunal that INEC had so far failed to fully comply with its earlier order to make available to the petitioners Certified True Copies of forms, Voters Registers and “any other relevant documents the applicants may request for the purpose of instituting and/or maintaining the applicant’s petition.”
Barr Pwajok, said that although the petitioners had paid INEC the sum of N4 million to make materials available, INEC was yet to allow his team full access to all the requested election documents, saying: “This is very unfair, my lords.”
When the tribunal chairman, Hon Justice Saleeman, sought to know why INEC had only partially complied with its order, INEC counsel ,Clement Onwuenwunor said rather weakly that,
“we are working on it.
“It is never our intention to deny the petitioners access to documents validly in our custody. We assure the honourable court that we will liaise with the petitioners and comply accordingly.”
Justice Saleeman then countered that even if INEC was unable to allow access to the relevant documents, it must state so and explain it in writing to be brought to the notice of the tribunal.”
Useni’s counsel also forwarded to the tribunal a fresh tranche of nine certified documents. These were copies of results from various polling units in Mangu, Bokkos and Jos East local government areas.
Respondents’ counsel had indicated that they would make their objections on the documents in their final address before the judgement of the tribunal.
Tribunal chairman, Hon Justice Saleeman received and coded the exhibits accordingly: P44A – P50A.
This effectively cleared the path for the PDP witnesses to mount the witness box.