Kogi Tribunal Gives Wada, PDP Wada Go Ahead To Inspect Election Materials
The Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Lokoja, the state capital, has granted leave for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to inspect electoral materials used in the conduct of the recently concluded governorship election.
The Chairman of the three-member tribunal panel, Justice Halima Mohammed, granted the exparte motion at the first sitting of the tribunal on Monday in Lokoja.
Mohammed, however, issued a consequential order that all the respondents in the petition be served the tribunal’s order for them to be present during the inspection at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Lokoja.
Chief Chris Uche (SAN), leading two other senior advocates and 10 lawyers for the PDP, had sought, in the application filed on January 9, an order of the tribunal to inspect materials used in the conduct of the governorship election in the custody of INEC.
Uche said the motion supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit and deposed to by one S.M. John-Mark was in line with Section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The petition filed by the incumbent governor and PDP’s flag-bearer in the governorship election, Captain Idris Wada, has the All Progressives Congress (APC), INEC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello as respondents.
The tribunal also granted six exparte motions for substituted service of petitions and other court processes on the Kogi Governor-elect, Bello, who is a respondent in all the petitions.
In their separate motions seeking the leave of the tribunal, Uche, Jibrin Okwutepa (SAN), APC; Reuben Egwaba, Labour Party (LP) and I.K. Idota of Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA), sought an order of the tribunal for substituted service on the governor-elect.
The African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) lawyers also sought the tribunal’s order to serve the petitions and other court processes at Bello’s last known address, the APC Secretariat or the notice board of the tribunal.
Each of their motions was supported by an affidavit saying that all attempts by the bailiff of the tribunal to serve the respondent failed.
Uche (SAN), who spoke on behalf of the Bar drew the attention of the tribunal to the essence of time in expeditious determination of the petitions saying the case in Kogi State was “narrow and novel.”
He said that the world was waiting for the judiciary to apply its wisdom to save the country out of the political logjam and said that the scenario was new and never contemplated in the nation’s democratic experiment.