Tribunal Okays Agbaje’s Request To Inspect Lagos Governorship Election Materials

Jimi-AgbajeThe Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday granted Jimi Agbaje leave to inspect all polling materials and documents used in the April 11 governorship election in the state.

Mr. Agbaje was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the election in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress as winner.

The three-man tribunal, led by Justice Muhammad Sirajo, gave the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte filed by Mr. Agbaje’s counsel, Clement Onwuenmunor.

The tribunal also ordered INEC to provide certified true copies of all polling documents, including printed data from the card reader machine, in each polling unit.

However, the tribunal rejected Mr. Agbaje’s request to inspect the polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the March 28 Presidential Election in Lagos State.

Mr. Sirajo noted that the tribunal was set up solely to hear and determine the petitions relating to the governorship election.

“The tribunal does not have the power to make an order for the inspection of the documents and devices used for the presidential election. It is hereby refused,” he added.

The tribunal also rejected Mr. Agbaje’s application, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, seeking an order to compel INEC to produce all polling documents, and card reader machines used for the governorship election.

According to the panel, the petitioner can request for materials and documents it deemed necessary to his case by way of subpoena when the tribunal has fully commenced proceedings.

The judge noted that the respondents should be given the statutory time to file their replies to the petitioner’s originating summons, adding that notices would be sent to parties for the pre-hearing conference.

Mr. Agbaje had petitioned the tribunal over the election which he lost to Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr. Agbaje had alleged irregularities during the election which he said contravened the provisions of INEC approved guidelines for the election.

The respondents in the suit are: INEC, Ambode, APC and the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State.