Toba Owojaiye reporting
Lokoja, Kogi state
In a significant development, the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal, located in Lokoja, has issued a crucial order granting access to election materials in the case involving Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Ajaka is the first applicant in the ongoing governorship election petition.
Truth Live News gathered that Justice Yusuf Ado Birnin-Kudu, presiding over the tribunal, rendered the decision on Saturday, compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide access to all materials and documents utilized in the November 11 gubernatorial election. The order was specifically directed at the first respondent, INEC, mandating compliance within 48 hours .
The order came in response to an application submitted by S.E Aruwa, SAN, representing the plaintiff. Aruwa expressed frustration at being unable to obtain 42 essential items required for the case, despite efforts made at INEC offices in both Abuja and Lokoja.
Justice Birnin-Kudu, in his preliminary ruling, emphasized 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, he granted the application, permitting John Adele, SAN, and S.E Aruwa, SAN, counsels to Ajaka and SDP, certified copies of the documents used in the governorship election, with a deadline of two days for compliance.
Furthermore, the tribunal chairman acceded to Adele’s additional request, compelling INEC to provide access to the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other electronic materials within 48 hours.
This development marks a crucial step in the legal proceedings, ensuring transparency and equitable access to essential evidence for the parties involved. The people of Kogi state and the nation at large are curious to know if Muri Ajaka will head to court based on his findings.