The Labour Party has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of frustrating its petition against the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
At a press conference in Lagos, spokesman of the Presidential Campaign Council of the party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, accused INEC of disobeying the Order of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which directed it to grant the Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, access to the certified true copies of materials used in the conduct of the poll.
He said the order of the presidential election petition tribunal was duly served on INEC on March 3 despite the fact that the commission was present and represented at the tribunal when the order was made.
He said the party also sent a letter to the Commission on March 6, reminding the electoral umpire that it was yet to obey the order.
Yunusa threatened that Labour Party might ask its supporters to stage protests at offices of the commission over the refusal to obey the court order.
“It should be noted that in a democracy like ours, rule of law must triumph not only in our legal system but also in our body polity as a whole. Parties to a litigation like in the instant case must accept and obey every order of court in good faith and no party should be seen to employ self-help to disparage or disrespect an order of court which if not checked and curtailed could possibly undermine our democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism.
“The action of INEC under reference also constitutes for all intent and purposes, an act of judicial insubordination and willful refusal to comply with the order of court,” he said.
He noted that while INEC has refused the party access to the election materials, the commission has started reconfiguring the BVAS machines without representatives of the parties in the case in attendance to confirm the data that is being backed up.
“We therefore call on the general public to note the level of lawlessness and brazen disobedience to a lawful order of a court by an important statutory agency such as INEC, and which is a well calculated attempt to undermine and frustrate the presentation of the Petition by the Labour Party and its Presidential candidate before the tribunal in good time.
“We therefore want to state that we will not fail to call our supporters to march to INEC offices nationwide in a non-violent protest which is allowed by law. This is to curtail the flagrant disobedience to court orders by INEC,” he added.
Dr. Tanko who maintained that Obi won the election from the results submitted by its party agents from the polling units, urged Nigerians to vote for candidates of the party in the rescheduled March 18 governorship/State Assembly elections.