Kano Tribunal: APC demands inspection of INEC materials on governorship poll
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano yesterday, moved an application before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to inspect electoral materials used during the March 18 elections in the state.
In a petition filed before the three-men panel, APC is seeking the upturn of the victory of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) already returned winner and has since taken oath of office.
Although APC has refused to join as co-petitioner, its governorship candidate, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, who lost the race to NNPP candidate, claimed INEC ought to have declared the outcome of the gubernatorial election inconclusive.
APC maintained that considering the number of cancelled votes to the lead margin between its candidate and the NNPP candidate, INEC violated the provisions of the Electoral Act which prevented the umpire from making declaration.
Besides the aforementioned circumstances, the petitioner equally urged the tribunal to invalidate the Certificate of Return issued to Governor Yusuf on the basis that he was not qualified to contest on the platform of NNPP. The petitioner argued that Yusuf was not a bonafide member of NNPP as at the time of his nomination.
At the resumed hearing of pre-hearing trial at the tribunal Thursday, counsel to the petitioner, Nureini Jimoh (SAN), urged the court to grant the request to access the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), ballots papers, voters registration as well as other electoral facilities INEC deployed across the state for the gubernatorial poll.
Reacting to the application, Counsel to INEC (1st respondent), K.C Wisdom, confirmed to being served with the process. He however declined to argue the process but rather requested to exhaust the seven-day provision to study the application before response.
Nevertheless, counsels to Governor Yusuf ( second respondent), Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) and of NNPP (third respondent) E.A Oshayomi (SAN), did not object to the petitioner’s application.
Meanwhile, the tribunal has fixed June 19 for the commencement of hearing on substantive application on the governorship election petition trial. The court also ordered all parties to conclude all exchange of processes on interlocutory applications before the hearing begins.
The panel equally adopted procedure that would guide the conduct of the trial for effective hearing, including allocation of days to the petitioner and respondents to prove their cases, time period for all categories of witnesses, and provisions for interpreters.
After consultation, the panel approved 26 days to all the parties including the petitioner to prove their case while 15 minutes was stipulated for examination and cross-examination of witnesses.
The tribunal has adjourned till June 15, for continuity of pre-hearing on admissibility of documents of all parties and adoption of schedules of proceedings.