June 23, 2024

INEC bows to pressure, grants Peter Obi’s lawyers access to inspect election materials

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has granted the Labour Party and its legal team access to inspect materials used for the February 25 presidential and national assembly election.

The spokesperson of the Labour Party presidential campaign council, Tanko Yunusa, confirmed the development on Monday.

“Yes, they have granted us access, we are meeting with the chairman now. We have our team of lawyers and technical experts with us,” Tanko said.

The approval by the electoral umpire comes following the threats by the LP to mobilize for a nationwide protest if the commission refuses to comply with the judgement of the Court of Appeal allowing the party to inspect election materials.

It would be recalled that the Labour Party had accused INEC of preventing the inspection of election materials.

Mr Peter Obi, 60 lawyers led by the Head of his Legal Team, Livvy Uzoukwu, were at INEC to discuss modalities for accessing the sensitive electoral materials deployed for the controversial February 25, Presidential election.

The INEC Chairman told the lawyers that the commission would make the materials available to the LP for the inspection as soon as possible as it has nothing to hide.

Obi who is challenging the process of the election in court has described it as Nigeria’s worst election ever.

Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on March 3, had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, to allow the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, access to inspect the sensitive materials the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, deployed for the conduct of the presidential election of February 25.

The appellate court, will serve as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The panel of the appellate court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, gave the orders when it heard two separate ex-parte applications the two aggrieved presidential candidates filed alongside their political parties.

The respondents in the matter were INEC, the winner of the presidential election, Bola Tinubu, as well as his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The presidential candidates relied on Section146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, Paragraph 47 (1, 2 &3) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act of 2022, as well as under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court as referenced by Section 6 (6) A & B of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to file their applications.

Labour Party, presidential candidate Obi, in his application represented by his team of lawyers, led by Mr Alex Ejesieme, SAN, are asking for six principal reliefs, while Atiku’s lawyer, Mr Adedamola Faloku, is seeking seven prayers from the tribunal.

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