The Election Petition Tribunal in Lokoja, Kogi State, has approved the request of the leading applicant, Murtala Ajaka from the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the governorship election petition case. The tribunal, presided over by Justice Yusuf Ado Birnin-Kudu, granted the counsel’s plea for access to materials and documents utilized in the November 11 gubernatorial election,Daily Trust reports.
Justice Birnin-Kudu issued the order on Saturday, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the first respondent in the petition, to comply within a 24-hour timeframe. The decision came in response to an application filed by S.E Aruwa SAN, the plaintiff’s counsel, citing difficulty in obtaining 42 essential items crucial to advancing the case. Aruwa highlighted unsuccessful attempts to access these documents at INEC offices in Abuja and Lokoja.
In a preliminary ruling, Justice Birnin-Kudu affirmed the merit of the application, aligning it with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and the Electoral Law 2023.
Consequently, he granted the application, allowing John Adele, SAN, and S.E Aruwa SAN, the counsels representing Ajaka and SDP, to obtain certified copies of documents related to the governorship election within a two-day period.
Furthermore, the Tribunal chairman endorsed Adele’s request to compel INEC to provide access to the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other electronic materials used, granting a 48-hour timeframe for compliance.