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Tribunal permits Lagos APC to inspect election materials


2015 General Election. Image source abusidiqu

2015 General Election. Image source abusidiqu

THE Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has got the nod of the state’s governorship election petitions tribunal, chaired by Justice Muhammed Sirajo, to inspect documents before the pre-hearing session.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, APC counsel, Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN), informed the tribunal of the motion on notice to that effect, dated May 19, 2015, and brought pursuant to section 285 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

He urged the court to grant the application, which was not opposed by other counsels in the matter, and as well compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is the first respondent, to make available to the applicant (APC), its counsel and/or agents Certified True Copies (CTC)‎ of all such polling documents or packets in the prescribed form used and/or purportedly used for conduct of the election.

The request was granted, as the tribunal directed that the applicant be so obliged. The tribunal also compelled INEC to allow APC and/or its agents to inspect, by way of machine/electronic scanning, all ballot papers and other electoral materials used in the conduct of the election to the office of the governor of Lagos State on April 11, 2015.

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in that election, ‎Jimi Agbaje, had petitioned the tribunal over the declaration of Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC as winner of the guber poll, alleging some irregularities that contravened the provisions of INEC’s approved guidelines during the election.

Justice Sirajo had granted Agbaje leave to inspect all polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the election while also ordering INEC to provide CTCs of all polling documents, including printed data, in each polling unit, from the card reader machines.

However, he had rejected Agbaje’s request to inspect the polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the March 28 Presidential Election in Lagos State, as well as Agbaje’s request that the tribunal should order INEC to produce all polling documents and card readers used for the governorship election, under the Freedom of Information Act.

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