Tribunal grants Buhari, APC access to election materials

Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) sitting at the Court of Appeal, Abuja has granted leave to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to inspect materials used for the February 23 presidential election.

A three-member panel of justices presided by Justice Abdul Aboki on Thursday unanimously granted the application brought separately by both President Buhari and the APC.

The panel directed INEC to allow the applicants access to inspect and obtain certified copies of the election materials to enable them defend any petition arising from the declaration of Buhari as the winner of the February 23 presidential election.

“Order is hereby made for the 1st respondent to allow access to and inspect as well as obtain Certified True Copies for the purpose of defending any election petition arising from his declaration by the 1st respondent (INEC) as the winner/returned candidate of the presidential election held on February 23,” Justice Aboki ruled.

The panel also ordered INEC to allow Pres. Buhari and APC access to inspect materials used in all polling units, wards, Local government areas, states and FCT, including “all ballot papers (used and unused, recorded as spoilt and also tendered) including rejected ballots and their stubs used in the conduct of the presidential election.”

The panel also ordered INEC to allow the applicants access to all electoral materials in its custody or possession of the INEC including but not limited to Forms: EC8AVP, EC8As EC8Bs, EC8Cs, EC8Ds, EC8Es, EC840A, EC60 and every other materials used in the election. The Court of Appeal also granted an ex parte application by counsel to the APC, Olusola Dare for access to card readers, data issues, voters’ register, all registered ballot papers, all actual ballot papers recorded or spoilt, all incident form and all other electoral forms used in the 2019 presidential election. Pres. Buhari’s application was brought by his counsel, Adelani Ajibade pursuant to Section 6(6) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution; Section 137 (2) and 151 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), paragraphs 47 (1), (2) and (3) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010.

The applications followed the appellate court’s approval on March 6 of a similar pre-hearing request by the candidate of the PDP in the election, Atiku Abubakar to compel INEC to produce the voters register, the smart card reader machines, ballot papers, back ends, and other sensitive materials used in the election for inspection and scanning.

Abdulwaheed Author

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