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Tribunal orders INEC to release voters' register to Airhiavbere

28 September 2012, 15:05

Edo  - The Election Petition Tribunal in Edo on Friday ordered INEC to immediately release the certified copies of the voters' register to retired Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, the PDP candidate in the July 14 Edo governorship election.

Airhiavbere had filed a petition challenging the emergence of Gov. Adams Oshiomhole in the election.

Named as co-defendants in the petition were Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), INEC, the Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner and INEC Returning Officer.

The petitioner, among other allegations, is claiming that INEC did not conduct the election in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2012 (as amended) and that the elections in certain parts of the state were marred with irregularities.

Airhiavbere, through his counsel, Mr Sunday Aguinede, brought a motion on notice, asking the tribunal to compel INEC to provide the certified true copies of the 2012 voters' register, to enable him to prove his case.

Delivering the ruling, the Chairman, Justice Suleman Ambrusa, said that INEC was statutorily bound by the provision of the electoral act as amended, to provide the documents to the petitioner.

``We have looked at the application and the accompanying affidavit and we are of the view that the contentious issue is the respondent applicant asking the respondent defendant to supply it with the documents applied for.

``Section 77(1) of the Electoral Act mandates the respondent defendant seven days to provide to the asking party the required documents provided the party pays the prescribed fees.

``We are of the view that the respondent defendant is already in breach of the law and yet expects to benefit from the same law.

``Its excuse of pressure arising from the volume of work is not tenable at all.

``The respondent defendant is directed to make available the true certified copies of documents being requested to the applicant respondent, ’’ Abrusa ordered.

The tribunal had on Thursday said it had jurisdiction to entertain Airhiavbere’s petition but not the aspect of the allegation dealing with the allegation that Oshiomhole did not possess the required minimum qualification and falsification of certificate.



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