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Kano tribunal rejects PDP’s request for forensic evidence, scanned materials

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s effort to secure an order of the Kano State Election Tribunal to obtain forensic evidence of election materials and scanned copies of documents failed yesterday following dismissal of its application.

In its ruling, the tribunal presided by Justice Halima Shamaki affirmed the position of section 151 (5) of the Electoral Act, which restrains the tribunal from authorising forensic and scanning of materials used for the March 9 and March 23, 2019 gubernatorial poll in Kano.

However, Justice Shamaki granted PDP’s permission to access photocopies of the required materials in the spirit of justice and fair hearing and urged all parties to map out schedules on modality and time for inspection to commence and be concluded.

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Counsel to the first, second and third respondents, however, did not object to the ruling.

Counsel to the petitioner, Maliki Kuliya Umar, had filed a motion on notice, seeking the tribunal to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Ganduje and All Progressives Congress (APC) being the first, second and third respondents to allow more time for accessing the materials.

But lead counsel to APC, Aliyu Umar (SAN) challenged the tribunal’s power to grant PDPs application, relying on section 151(5) of the Electoral Act 2010, which he claimed, only empowered court to allow access to inspection of the property.

INEC had earlier opposed PDP’s application, noting that accessing photocopies of electoral materials remain in the public domain.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State yesterday overturned the application of PDP lawyer, Solomon Umoh (SAN) in which he sought to vacate Senator Godswill Akpabio’s petition and set aside the order granted him by the tribunal for inspection of election materials.

The tribunal’s Chairman, Justice W. O. Akanbi had on April 2, 2019 granted an ex parte order to Akpabio and APC for inspection of materials in INEC’s custody.

Umoh had filed an application before the tribunal seeking to set aside the petitioner’s request for forensic analysis of election materials and sought dismissal of all reliefs granted to the petitioner, as “inspection process of the election materials has been prejudiced.”

He also argued that the “only grounds of obtaining an order must be by motion on notice,” which, he said the respondents failed to file.

However, in his ruling, Justice Akanbi declared that PDP’s application for the inspection order to be reversed was alien to law and adjourned further sitting to Friday, May 10, 2019.


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