The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje, who lost in the polls to All Progressives Congress’ Akinwumi Ambode has requested and received permission from the Lagos State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 to inspect the polling material and document used in the April 11 governorship election in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) had declared Mr Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the polls, but Agbaje looked not to be satisfied with the results declared and therefore challenged the decision at the Tribunal. The three-man tribunal led by Justice Muhammad Sirajo, gave the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte by Agbaje’s counsel, Mr 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. The Tribunal however rejected Agbaje’s request to inspect the polling documents and devices used in the conduct of the March 28 Presidential Election in Lagos State.
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 Agbaje’s application seeking an order to compel INEC to produce all polling documents, and card reader machines used for the governorship election pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
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.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Agbaje had petitioned the tribunal over the election which he lost to Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Agbaje filed a suit against INEC, Ambode, APC and the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State alleging some irregularities during the election which he said contravened the provisions of INEC approved guidelines for the election.