The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Lokoja, the state capital, on Saturday, gave INEC 48 hours to issue certified copies of electoral materials on the 11 November election in the state to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
It also ordered INEC to allow SDP’s forensic experts to examine some electoral materials.
The materials include the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and result sheets for Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ogori-Magongo, Ajaokuta, Lokoja, and Bassa local government areas.
The tribunal ruled on Saturday in Lokoja that the SDP requested the materials to prove its case in the petition it filed against the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the election filed on 19 November by the SDP and by its governorship candidate, Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka.
Mr Birnin-Kudu said the orders became imperative given the time constraints the tribunal had to discharge its mandate.
“The order is in compliance with Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and with the Electoral Act (2022).
“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,’’ he declared.
The tribunal adjourned the case until Wednesday, 29 November for the submission of the report of compliance by INEC and the continuation of hearing.
SDP and Mr Yakubu-Ajaka earlier filed seven ex-parte motions to support their demand but withdrew five and pursued two.
Lead counsel for the petitioners, John Adele a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had earlier told the court that efforts made to obtain certified true copies of materials used in the six local government areas from INEC had been fruitless.
“Time is of the essence in this matter, and that is why we filed the motions to your lordship to help salvage the situation.
“Each time we approached INEC since 13 November, 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,’’ he prayed the tribunal.
The SDP and Mr Yakubu-Ajaka are challenging the victory of APC and its candidate, Usman Ododo, at the election petition tribunal.
INEC declared Mr Ododo as the winner of the election with 446,237 votes, while his closest rival, Mr Yakubu-Ajaka got 259,052 votes.Follow us on social media