Kogi poll : Appeal Court dismisses inspection order granted by tribunal

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has overturned the inspection order given to the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate by the Abuja Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

On November 25, 2023, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal issued an Exparte Order allowing the Social Democratic Party and its candidate in the 11th November, 2023 Governorship election to conduct a forensic examination of all Bimordal Voters Accreditation systems (BVAS) used in the Governorship election, among other reliefs.

The Court of Appeal, chaired by Justice J.O.K. Oyewole and Justices A. I. Banjoko and A.B. Mohammed, struck aside the inspection order on Friday, stating that it went beyond the scope of the Electoral Act.

The Court of Appeal ordered that, while inspection is allowed under the Electoral Act, it must be jointly carried out with the respondent and the scope of the inspection should be within the strict limit allowed under the Electoral Act.

SDP was represented at the Court of Appeal by Pius Akubo, SAN; the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN; Governor Usman Ahmed Ododo was represented by J.B. Daudu, SAN, while the All Progressives Congress was represented by Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN.

“The ex parte order made by the Trial Tribunal on the 25th November, 2023 at the instance of the 1st and 2nd Respondents are within the jurisdictional competence of the said Tribunal. However, paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ thereof are beyond the scope of Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022. The said paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ are hereby expunged.

“The inspection purportedly done pursuant to the said Orders of the trial Tribunal without the presence of the Apellant violates paragraph ‘h’ of the said orders and it is hereby set aside,” the Appeal Court held.

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