Tribunal: Supreme Court Upholds SDP’s Right To Inspect Election Materials

by Ohepo Ohepo

The Supreme Court has affirmed the decision of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, which permitted the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the November 2023 Kogi election, Murtala Ajaka, to inspect election materials.

The Bureau Newspaper reported on March 7, that the apex court paused the Court of Appeal in Abuja’s execution of its orders, which had annulled the inspection order.

On November 25, 2023, the Tribunal granted an ex parte order for the SDP and its Kogi governorship candidate, Ajaka, to conduct a forensic analysis of all Bimodal Voters Accreditation system (BVAS) devices used during the election, among other requests.

However, on March 1, 2024, a panel of three justices from the Court of Appeal, led by Justice J.O.K. Oyewole, overturned the inspection order. Justices A. I. Banjoko and A.B. Mohammed also part of the panel, highlighted that inspection should adhere to the boundaries set by the Electoral Act, necessitating joint execution with the respondent.

Despite reversing specific provisions of the Tribunal’s order, the Court of Appeal confirmed the Tribunal’s authority to issue the original inspection directive but removed clauses ‘G’, ‘K’, and ‘N’ for exceeding the Electoral Act 2022 Section 146 (1) limits. It also invalidated any inspection done without the appellant’s participation, as it contravened the Tribunal’s guidelines.

Subsequently, on March 7, 2024, the Supreme Court reinstated the Tribunal’s order, overruling the Court of Appeal’s decision. In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Emmanuel Akomoye Agim, the apex court determined the Tribunal’s order to be within the permissible range of Section 146 of the Electoral Act.

Justice Agim articulated, without delving into detailed reasoning, that the motion to overturn the Tribunal’s decision was not only untimely filed but also the trial court’s order was legitimately within the Electoral Act’s provisions. Consequently, the appeal was granted, dismissing the counter-appeal without imposing costs.

An associate of the Ajaka camp remarked on the ruling, emphasizing the procedural flaws by the opposing side that led to the Supreme Court’s decision, highlighting the thorough argumentation and counterarguments presented by both parties in the appeal.

You may also like

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin
Verified by MonsterInsights