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Court orders INEC to grant  Onu access to voting materials

By Eric Ugbor
Posted to the Web: Thursday, July 19, 2007

ABAKALIKI—The Election Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki  yesterday ordered INEC to produce within seven days all relevant materials used for the conduct of the April 14th guber election for inspection by counsel to Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, ANPP guber candidate in his petition against Governor Martin Elechi of the PDP.

 In her ruling on the Application filed by counsel to the petitioner, for INEC to produce the materials for inspection chairman of the Tribunal Mrs. Chioma Iheme-Nwosu said although the application was oral it was being granted for the sake of justice pointing out that it would not cause INEC much inconvenience.

 The counsel to the petitioner Barr. F. O. Okoye had argued that the application was necessary to enable the Tribunal authenticate the genuiness of the photocopies of the electoral materials earlier presented by INEC.

 The Tribunal gave counsel to the petitioner four days to conclude the inspection of the materials and adjourned the hearing for July 30th 2007. In another petition brought by Engr. Onwukaike Nwambam against the member representing Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency in the House of Reps. Innocent Ugo Chima, both parties outlined the issues for determination in the petition during its pre-trial session Wednesday.

 Counsel to the petitioner Barr. Tony Okah noted that the Tribunal should seek to determine whether the petitioner Engr. Onwukaike Nwambam was at any time nominated a PDP candidate for the House of Reps election; whether the petitioner was substituted at anytime; “If so, was there a valid substitution within the provision of section 43 of the Electoral Act.”

 On his part counsel to the respondent, Chief Gabriel Ofodile Okafor (SAN) highlighted the issues to be determined in the petition as; “whether the petitioner was a valid candidate for the election; whether he was validly nominated but wrongly substituted; who was a candidate at the election; and whether INEC is empowered to reject any candidate submitted to it by a political party.”


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