From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki

Ebonyi State Election Petitions Tribunal, yesterday, granted leave to Ifeanyi Odii of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bernard Odoh of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to inspect documents used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the March 18 governorship election.

The permission was sequel to two separate exparte applications filed by Odii and Odoh, who came second and third respectively in the governorship election won by Francis Nwifuru of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Odi and Odoh are alleging substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 in addition to violence and rigging which they claimed marred the conduct and outcome of the election.

They had, in separate statements, after the election vowed to challenge the outcome of the results in court.

They approached the tribunal for permission to inspect the materials used by INEC in the conduct of the election.

Odoh’s lawyer, Ubah Chukwu, in arguing the motion, prayed the court to grant the exparte application brought before it pursuant to Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, Paragraph 4 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.

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The application which was predicated on grounds, sought for reliefs, adding that a schedule of the documents to interrogate the respondent (INEC) was also contained in the application supported by an affidavit.

Counsel to the applicant adopted all the averments contained in the affidavit and urged the court to grant the application.

In the other application, Odii’s lawyer, Adams Opoke, holding brief for Chris Uche also prayed the appellate court to grant the reliefs sought in the motion exparte in the interest of justice.

He said the motion was brought pursuant to Section 86 (1) of 1999 Constitution as amended Section 146 of the Electoral Act 2022 and paragraphs 47 of the first Schedule of the Electoral Act 2022 under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Opoke also informed the court that they had deposes an affidavit and are relying on all the averments therein in urging the court to grant the application.

After listening to the applicants, the presiding judge, Lekan Ogunmoye, subsequently granted the request of the two applicants.