The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal, convened in Lokoja on Saturday, has approved the request of counsel representing Murtala Ajaka, the first applicant in the gubernatorial election case, to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide access to election materials and all relevant documents utilized in the November 11 governorship election in the state.
This decision stemmed from an application submitted by S.E Aruwa SAN, who highlighted difficulties in obtaining 42 items crucial to the case that were used in the election. Aruwa stated that attempts to access these documents at INEC offices in Abuja and Lokoja were unsuccessful, prompting the need for a tribunal order to proceed with the case.
Presiding Tribunal Judge Justice Yusuf Ado Birnin-Kudu acknowledged the merit of the application, citing alignment with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and the Electoral Law 2023. Consequently, the judge granted the application, mandating INEC to allow access to certified copies of election documents within two days for counsels representing Muritala Ajaka of the SDP, led by John Adele, SAN, and S.E Aruwa SAN.
Additionally, the tribunal chairman acceded to John Adele SAN’s request, compelling INEC to provide access to the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other electronic materials within 48 hours.
Following the ruling, John Adele SAN, the lead counsel for Muritala Ajaka and the SDP, expressed optimism that INEC would comply with the tribunal’s decision.