On Friday, Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s candidate, was granted permission by the Court of Appeal in Abuja to access all sensitive materials deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the February 25 presidential election.
The court, which will act as the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, also directed INEC to provide the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate with access to the election materials. The orders were made by a panel of the appellate court led by Justice Joseph Ikyegh after considering two separate ex-parte applications filed by the two presidential candidates and their political parties. The respondents in the case were INEC, Bola Tinubu, the declared winner of the presidential election, and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The applications were made under Section146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, Paragraph 47 (1, 2 &3) of the First Schedule of the Electoral Act of 2022, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, as referenced by Section 6 (6) A & B of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Obi’s application, presented by his legal team led by Alex Ejesieme, SAN, sought six primary reliefs, while Atiku’s lawyer, Adedamola Faloku, sought seven prayers from the tribunal.
The applicants specifically requested that the court compel INEC to grant them access to the documents in its custody that were used for the presidential election. They argued that these documents would assist them in their petition against the outcome of the presidential contest that was declared in favour of Tinubu, the APC candidate.