May 26, 2015

Tribunal begins hearing today on Agbaje’s petition

Tribunal begins hearing today on Agbaje’s  petition

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Bartholomew Madukwe
The Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal will today commences hearing in the petition filed by Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Mr Jimi Agbaje challenging the victory of the All Progressive Congress, APC, candidate, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode at the last gubernatorial election.

According to the Registrar of the Tribunal presided by Justice Muhammad Sirajo, the date was fixed after notices of hearing were sent to all parties involved in the dispute.

Witnesses are expected to appear before the tribunal with their evidences on how the election was allegedly manipulated in favour of the APC candidate.

The PDP gubernatorial candidate, Agbaje had contested the victory of Ambode as the winner of the April 11, gubernatorial election, while praying the Tribunal to grant him access to inspect materials used for the election.

The candidate had alleged that the conduct of the poll was marred with some irregularities, which contravened the provisions of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) approved guidelines and statutes.

Joined as respondents in the petition are INEC, APC and the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State.

On Agbaje’s request, the tribunal granted him leave to inspect all polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the election, as well as granting an order directing INEC to provide Certified True Copies of all polling documents, including printed data in each polling unit, from the card reader machines.

However, it rejected the request to inspect the polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the March 28 Presidential Election in Lagos State.

The tribunal also rejected Agbaje’s Freedom of Information, (FOI) request asking the tribunal to order 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 he deems necessary to his case, by way of subpoena, when the tribunal has fully commenced proceedings.