Court orders INEC to provide Kogi governorship election materials within 48 hours

Court orders INEC to provide Kogi governorship election materials within 48 hours

The Kogi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has given INEC 48 hours to issue certified copies of election materials for the November 11 off-cycle elections in the state to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

It also ordered INEC to allow SDP forensic experts to examine some election materials.

The materials include the bimodal voter qualification system and result sheets for Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ogori Magongo, Ajaokuta, Lokoja, Kogi and Bassa Local Government Areas.

A court in Lokoja on Saturday ruled that the SDP in its petition filed against the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the elections had sought to produce materials to prove its claims.

The court’s presiding judge, Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, issued the order following two bipartisan motions filed by the SDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka, on November 19.

Justice Bernin Kudu said the order became essential given the time constraints the court needed to carry out its mandate.

“This order is in accordance with Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act (2022).

“INEC is ordered to provide all documents sought by the plaintiffs within 48 hours to ensure that the litigation proceeds smoothly and without delay,” he declared.

The SDP and Yakubu Ajaka had earlier tabled seven bipartisan motions in support of the request, but withdrew five and pursued two.

Lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr. John Adel (SAN), had earlier told the court that efforts to obtain certified copies of materials used by the six local governments from INEC had been futile.

“Time is of the essence in this matter, which is why we have tabled a motion with His Excellency to save the situation.

“Since November 13, every time we have approached INEC, the official has failed to provide a single election material that we have requested.

“I am confident that if your Lordship grants our application, INEC will take the necessary steps to prosecute this case within the time limit,” he prayed in court.

Justice Birnin-Kudu adjourned the case until Wednesday, November 29, for submission of a compliance report by INEC and continuation of the hearing.

The SDP and Yakubu Ajaka are challenging the victory of the APC and its candidate Alhaji Usman Ododo at the Election Petitions Tribunal.

INEC declared Mr. Ododo the winner of the election with 446,237 votes, while his closest rival, Mr. Yakubu-Ajaka, received 259,052 votes.


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