The Kogi governorship election petition tribunal has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide certified copies of materials used in the conduct of the November 11 off-cycle election in the state.
The tribunal asked the electoral umpire to provide the materials to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) within 48 hours.
The materials include Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and result sheets for Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ogori-Magongo, Ajaokuta, Lokoja, Kogi and Bassa LGAs of the state.
Ado Birnin-Kudu, chairman of the tribunal, gave the order on Saturday following two ex-parte motions filed on November 19 by the SDP and Murtala Yakubu-Ajaka, its governorship candidate.
John Adele, lead counsel to SDP and Ajaka, told the court that efforts made to obtain certified copies of materials used in six LGAs of the state from INEC was futile.
“Time is of essence in this matter, and that was why we filed the motions to your lordship to help to salvage the situation,” Adele said.
“Each time we approached INEC since November 13, its officials failed to avail us with even one of the electoral materials for which we requested.
“We believe that if your lordship grants our application, INEC will do the needful to enable us to prosecute this case within the time limit.”
The tribunal also ordered INEC to allow SDP’s forensic experts to examine some electoral materials.
“The order is in compliance with Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and with the Electoral Act (2022),” NAN quoted Birnin-Kudu as saying.
“INEC is hereby ordered to produce all the documents being sought by the plaintiffs within 48 hours to enable proceedings to go smoothly and without hitches.”
The tribunal adjourned the case to November 29 for submission of report of compliance by INEC and continuation of the hearing.
The SDP and Ajaka are challenging the victory of Usman Ododo, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
INEC declared Ododo as winner of the November 11 election with 446,237 votes, while Yakubu-Ajaka came second with 259,052 votes.