Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce all electoral materials used for the conduct of the March 9, 2019 poll across the 25 local government areas of the state.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Belgore handed down the order while ruling on two separate motions exparte brought by the petitioners and the first respondent, respectively.
Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Great Ogboru and his party are challenging the return of the incumbent governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the People Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the March 9, 2019 election by INEC, in petition number EPT/DT/Gov/01/2019.
Counsel to the petitioners, Martin Mukoro who had adopted his motion exparte and all its supporting affidavits, urged the tribunal to grant the two reliefs sought, saying that the inspection of the poll materials will help in maintaining the petition.
He prayed the tribunal to order the third respondent (INEC) to produce all electoral materials used across the 25 council areas, as well as an order directing INEC to confirm in writing if the materials are not available.
In his motion exparte, counsel to the first respondent (Okowa) James Olotu also prayed the court to direct the third respondent (INEC) to produce all electoral materials including of the Certified True Copies of register of voters for forensic and scientific analysis.
In separate rulings, Justice Belgore ordered INEC to make the materials available to the parties for inspection and scanning.
The tribunal upheld the three prayers of the first respondent, and refused the second relief sought by the petitioners in their motion exparte.
Justice Belgore averred that while the three reliefs of the first respondent as well as the first relief of the petitioners were covered by the provision of Section 151 of the Electoral Act, as amended, the second relief sought by the petitioners was not covered by said section upon which the applications were made.
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