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Ekiti Tribunal: PDP lawyers, INEC tango over alleged unfair access to electoral materials

Ekiti Tribunal: PDP lawyers, INEC tango over alleged unfair access to electoral materials

Johnson Ojo, Ado Ekiti

Counsels representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola Eleka , before the election petition Tribunal on the July 14 poll, on Wednesday raised the alarm, accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ekiti State of not cooperating fully with them on the need to have a fair assess to electoral materials during inspection as ordered by the Tribunal.

One of the PDP legal counsels, Nurudeen Adegboye, who decried that INEC ought to grant separate assess to his team and that of the Respondents comprising the counsels to All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate John Kayode Fayemi, already declared winner of the poll by INEC, for the inspection of the electoral materials, alleged that: “The lNEC have not been cooperating with us very well on the urgent need for us to have separate sessions with the Respondents, as to checking and assessing the electoral materials.

We got our court orders separately to come for our inspection. The Respondents also got their own order separately for the same exercise.

” Instead of INEC to set up a separate inspection for us for us to have our own separately so that either party would do its inspection without any inch, INEC decided that we should have a joint inspection for the exercise. As a result of this, the Respondents have been frustrating us, bringing all sorts of unreasonable demands and not allow us to move at our pace, but time is of essence as we are going to open our case and defend it first. We don’t have the luxury of time but the Respondents have all the time and can take their time.

” We need the report of the inspection first. We have areas where there are challenges which we are concentrating. Our interest are not the same with that of the Respondents: The Respondents would say they want to go to one local government area today, while we would be interested in another local government and because of the joint inspection INEC foisted on us, we have been having issues.

It is INEC that is causing this problem by making us to have joint session and this is not right. It is not proper.

” What we want from INEC is that they should split us and let us have separate access to the materials and assess the electoral materials separately because our interest are different and our court orders are also different. If INEC gives a separate session, we won’t be having issues as to when and where we would go for the materials. If possible, we should have representative that would be watching either party during the separate sessions,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations, INEC Public Relations Officer, Taiwo Gbadegesin, said: “The bottom line is that the INEC has been so fair to both parties. The schedule is the commission make the materials available and we have been doing that.

” The arrangement as to having assess to the materials has been left to the two parties, all along, it has been smooth with the joint session. If there is any disagreement now, they have to go back and re-arrange on how to do the inspection between themselves. Our own part is to provide the materials at any time they ask for them.

” All the materials are in our strong room here at the state office, we don’t have any material in any of the local government area. All we do is to ask the electoral officials and local government official in charge to come and show them the materials/and we have been so transparent on this. We have nothing to hide. We don’t decide whether they would have a joint or separate session. That is for them to decide between the two of them, ” he clarified.

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