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Senator Sandy Ojang Onor

CRS Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal: PDP accuses INEC of frustrating Court Order to inspect election materials

…Apply to headquarters for BVAS’ release, says REC
By Sixtus Uket (Calabar)
More than one week after the Cross River State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Calabar, the State capital, authorised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate, Prof. Sandy Ojang Onor, to inspect the materials used for the conduct of the March 18 Governorship Election, a Special Committee of the party set up to inspect the election materials has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is deliberately frustrating the inspection of the materials.
Briefing newsmen in Calabar on Friday on its efforts so far, the Secretary of the PDP Special Committee Inspection Team, Chris Agbor, said all attempts made by his members to inspect the listed materials have been met by brick wall.
He also accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof Gabriel Yomere, and the Head of Operations of playing hide-and-sick-game with them.
Agbor explained that when the committee first interfaced with the INEC team after the order was duly served, the REC had promised to give them six days to inspect the materials.
“But surprisingly, the commission has deliberately refused us access to the BVAS, used and unused ballot papers, result sheets, ballot paper stump and other essential materials,” the Special Committee’s Secretary said.
According to him, “the action of the REC is a flagrant disregard to the subsisting order issued by the honourable Tribunal and this unwholesome posture tantamount to contempt of court.”
“At this stage we are left with no other option than to report to the Court for necessary action to enable us secure unhindered access to the materials. This is an essential process and step in pursuing the matter.
“The action of the Commission, especially the Head of Operations, is an indication that there is a foul play somewhere and we shall pursue this inspection of election materials to the end just as we shall not be deterred in any way from pursuing the case to its logical conclusion,” Agbor stated.
However, when contacted on telephone, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Cross River State, Prof Gabriel Yomere, claimed he is not aware of any impediment hindering the PDP team from inspecting the materials.
“I was diagnosed of glaucoma and I am currently in Kano State to see my ophthalmologist for a likely surgery. But before traveling, I handed over to the Administrative Secretary with specific instructions to ensure strict compliance to every Court order.
“PDP is free to access every materials used at the elections except the BIVAS which they must apply to our headquarters in Abuja before we can allow them to check,” Yomere stated.
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal holding in Calabar, Cross River State, had last week granted the Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Sandy Ojang Onor permission to inspect the materials used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the March 18 Governorship Elections in the State.
The 3-man tribunal led by Justice J. O. Okeaya-Inneh, gave the order after hearing the Exparte motion filed by Counsel to the plaintiff, F. Baba Isa Esq, in a Petition No: EPT/CR/GOV/03M/2023 between Senator (Prof.) Sandy Ojang Onor and the Peoples Democratic Party versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Bassey Edet Out, Hon. Peter Agbe Odey and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Other members of the Tribunal include, Justice M. L. Omar and Justice O. O. Olatawura.

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