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Kogi: Appeal court sets aside inspection order granted by tribunal

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the inspection order granted the Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by the Governorship…

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the inspection order granted the Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by the Governorship election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Governorship election petition Tribunal had, on November 25, 2023, granted an Exparte Order, allowing the Social Democratic Party and its candidate in the 11th November, 2023 Governorship election to carry out forensic examination of all the Bimodal Voters Accreditation system (BVAS) used in the Governorship election, among other sundry reliefs.

In a ruling on Friday, delivered by a three-man panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice J.O.K. Oyewole, with Justices A. I. Banjoko and A.B. Mohammed concurring, the Court of Appeal set aside the inspection order, having gone outside the province of the Electoral Act.

The Court of Appeal ordered that, while inspection is allowed under the Electoral Act, it must be jointly carried out with the respondent and the scope of the inspection should be within the strict limit allowed under the Electoral Act.

Social Democratic Party was represented at the Court of Appeal by Pius Akubo, SAN; the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN; Governor Usman Ahmed Ododo was represented by J.B. Daudu, SAN, while the All Progressives Congress was represented by Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN.

“The ex parte order made by the Trial Tribunal on the 25th November, 2023 at the instance of the 1st and 2nd Respondents are within the jurisdictional competence of the said Tribunal. However, paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ thereof are beyond the scope of Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022. The said paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ are hereby expunged.

“The inspection purportedly done pursuant to the said Orders of the trial Tribunal without the presence of the Apellant violates paragraph ‘h’ of the said orders and it is hereby set aside,” the Appeal Court held.

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