The Kogi State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja, the state capital, on Saturday, requested the Independent National Electoral Commission to grant access to election materials to the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Murtala Ajaka.
The tribunal granted four exparte motions of the SDP and Ajaka seeking for orders to inspect election ballot papers, do forensic examination of ballot papers, inspect Bvas and receive its report with other 48 documents it seeks to use in presenting it’s petition.
INEC has been given 48 hours to deliver all documents to Yakubu Ajaka and SDP.
SDP’s lawyers were led by Aderemi Abimbola Esquire from Adewole Adebayo & Co law firm whilst Murtala Ajaka was represented by the law firm of Jibrin Okutepa SAN.
Six applications were filed by Okutepa SAN group and 4 of the applications were withdrawn.
Parties are to report back to court on Wednesday 29th November 2023 on the response of INEC.
It would be recalled that in the off season gubernatorial election which took place on Saturday 11th November 2023, INEC had declared Usman Ododo of the APC as the winner with Ajaka of the SDP as the runner-up. Both SDP and Ajaka cried foul alleging overvoting, unlawful votes, irregularities and noncompliance with the Electoral Act.
The SDP had given INEC seven days to review the results but INEC has apparently refused to grant any reviews and has proceeded to issue a certificate of Return to the APC candidate as the Governor Elect of Login State.
Today’s applications are an indication that SDP and Ajaka are gearing up for a judicial redress.
Other election observers and commentators have also called into question the credibility and fairness of the off-season elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States.
Under the law, aggrieved parties have 21 days to initiate petitions at the Election Tribunals.