ABIA: Counsels Differ On INEC Compliance With Tribunal Order

Counsel to the 2015 All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chief Chris Uche and Mr Livy Uzoukwu respectively, on Monday June 22, 2015 disagreed over the attitude of the electoral body to the election ’s order that gubernatorial candidate Dr Alex Otti be given access to the election materials for inspection.

Chief Uche had told the tribunal that despite its order that the petitioner be allowed access to the electoral materials, the commission was not cooperating, saying that the attitude was responsible for the delay in the conclusion of the inspection.

The tribunal had at the inception granted the petitioner’s prayer to inspect election materials. But Uche reported that INEC’s reluctance since the prayer was granted had delayed the process.

He described the action as a deliberate interference which might unnecessarily delay the process, calling on the tribunal to intervene. He noted that the seven days allotted for the inspection of the materials had elapsed without progress.

He also prayed the tribunal to order the commission to bring the ballot papers from the local government offices to the headquarters in Umuahia rather than asking the petitioners to go to all the INEC local government offices.

But Uzoukwu, counsel to INEC, said the petitioners did not stick to the items contained in the original motion of the tribunal order but enlarged it with extraneous items, saying that they added eight more items. This, he said, confused the respondents. He exonerated INEC of any blamed for the delay.

He also said the commission was ready to allow the petitioner access to documents allegedly not yet inspected, including the voters register, and forms EC A, B, C, D, among others.

The tribunal chairman, Usman Bwala, adjourned the matter to Friday, June 26, for further mention after the respondents said they had not received the application for pre-hearing from the petitioner.

Source: Daily Trust

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