The Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal (ESEPT), has granted leave to the All Progressives Congress (2nd respondent), to inspect the documents and other forms used by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of the June 18 governorship election in the state.
The ESEPT had earlier granted same leave to the Petitioner and Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Mr. Segun Oni.
Oni instituted the petition against the APC’s candidate, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, on the premise that he scored the highest number of lawful votes cast in the poll.
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During yesterday’s proceeding, the tribunal also granted the prayers that were brought through an ex-parte motion by the Counsel to APC, Mr. Kabir Akingbolu, who held brief for the Lead Counsel, Mr. Akin Olujimi (SAN), in pursuant to Section 6(6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Section 47(1) of the first schedule of the Electoral Act, Section 146(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2022.
As contained in the motion, the application prayed for “an order, granting leave to the 2nd respondent to move the applicant outside the pre-hearing session.
“An order of the tribunal permitting the applicant or its agents for the purpose of defending the petition, to take certified copies and conduct manual/physical inspection of all electoral materials used in the conduct of the governorship election into the office of the governorship of Ekiti State held on June 18, 2022, in all the 16 local governments areas of Ekiti State.
“An order directing the fourth respondent and any other agents of the fourthth respondent to allow the applicant and/or its counsel to inspect and if deemed necessary make/procure certified true copies of the BVAS, accredited voters, print-outs, scanned and transmitted documents, among others.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the ESEPT, Hon. Justice Wilfred Kpochi, granted the prayers of the APC and the 2nd respondent in the suit.
Justice Kpochi said: “It is germane for the applicant to defend the petition. Also, the oral application by the second respondent as prayed at the tribunal is granted.”
The tribunal urged the fourth respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to grant the APC access to inspect all documents and materials used for the conduct of the Ekiti governorship election on June 18.
Oni, in his suit, was seeking total nullification of Oyebanji’s victory and the declaration that he is the actual winner or order for a rerun in the alternative.