The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) on Friday suffered a setback as the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal grants the All Progressives Congress (APC) prayers for INEC to produce BVAS and also allowed them to personally inspect them in the ongoing legal debacles.
The Tribunal admitted the APC application to inspect the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine used during March 18, 2023, governorship poll in the state, but refused the Party’s request for joined inspection with the NNPP.
APC has petitioned the tribunal challenging the declaration of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuf as the winner of the gubernatorial election in the state.
The petitioner has joined INEC and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in the petition seeking to invalidate the outcome of the 18th March, gubernatorial poll.
At the last sitting, counsel to the petitioner, Nureini Jimoh, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) cited section 146(1)(2) of the Electoral Act. sought the order of the tribunal to compel INEC to make available production of BVAS machines used for the governorship poll.
The counsel to the Petitioner also urged the court to grant the request for a joint inspection of the electoral materials in the interest of justice and for the purpose of using the same to defend his petition.
In a counter-argument, counsels to 1st respondent (INEC) K.C Wisdom, 2nd respondent (Abba Kabiru Yusuf) B.J Akomolafe, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and 3rd respondent (NNPP) Abdulhameed Mohammad, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) asked the tribunal to dismiss the APC’s application.
In his objection, Counsel to INEC, K.C Wisdom insisted the petitioner’s application was an attempt to alter the main petition. He reminded that since the petitioner had enjoyed earlier order of the court to inspect INEC material, the court need not extend another permit to inspect INEC BVAS machines.
Similarly, counsel to the second respondent, B.J Akomolafe urged the tribunal to deny APC access to inspect INEC BVAS having exhausted its 14 days window period to inspect the electoral materials.
Ruling on the subject matter however, the panel Chaired by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay overruled the objection of the respondents, declaring that provisions of section 146 of the Electoral Act afforded the petitioner the right to inspect all electoral materials.
Justice Osadebay maintained that it is only fair to allow the petitioner to access the BVAS produced in the interest of justice while enabling the petitioner to prove its case. The led Justice reminded that refusing to grant the application may jeopardize the interest of justice and equity.
The panel thereby reserved ruling in all the pre-consolidated applications during the final address. Hearing of the substantive matter on the petition begins on 19th, June, 2023.