2015 polls: Ad hoc staff lock INEC office over unpaid stipends

ABUJA—The Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed an application by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Dakuku Peterside seeking to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to transfer all the materials used for the April 11 governorship election in Rivers State, to Abuja for inspection.
The Justice Muazu Pindiga-led tribunal dismissed the application. APC and Peterside at the hearing of the petition they filed against the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of the  Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, prayed the tribunal to direct INEC to relocate all the polling materials to Abuja for inspection by its legal team and forensic experts.

The materials include all ballot papers, the  voters’ register that was used for the election, as well as the biometric data as captured by the Card Reader Machines that were deployed to Rivers State by INEC for the purpose of the disputed governorship poll.
In another development, the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal also sitting in Abuja has adjourned to decide whether or not to dismiss the petition seeking to nullify the guber  election  that took place in the state on April 11. Governor Emmanuel Udom and his party, PDP, are praying the Justice Sadiq Umar-led tribunal to dismiss the petition on the group that APC did not field a valid candidate for the election.
Udom argued that the APC candidate, Mr Umana Umana, was not qualified to contest the election considering that  the primaries that produced him was not conducted in line with  provisions of the Electoral Act. APC failed to give 21 days notice to INEC before the primary election that produced Umanna was held.
INEC yesterday supported the application for the petition to be dismissed. The petitioners, through  their lead counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujunmi, SAN , had alleged that INEC and the other respondents in the matter were deliberately frustrating the petition by constantly denying them access to the materials, regardless of a subsisting order of the tribunal.
While dismissing  the application, the tribunal, held that acceding to the request by the APC would amount to varying an earlier order it made on June 11, which had directed the electoral body to grant the petitioners access to all the election materials.
The tribunal said that the petitioners failed to convince it on why that previous ruling  should be amended to reflect  that the inspection of the materials should be conducted in Abuja.