On Friday, the Court of Appeal granted Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party permission to inspect documents used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the Feb. 25 Presidential election.
The permission came as a result of two separate Exparte Applications filed by Abubakar and Obi, who finished second and third in the presidential election won by Sen. Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Abubakar and Obi claim significant non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022, as well as violence and rigging, marred the conduct and outcome of the election.
They had pledged to air their grievances at the soon-to-be-established Presidential Election Petition Tribunal at a separate media briefing on Thursday in Abuja, and had approached the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal for permission to inspect the materials used by INEC in the conduct of the election.
The PDP and LP are also named as respondents in the suit, with INEC, Tinubu, and the APC ranking first through third.
In arguing the motion, Atiku’s lawyer, Adedamola Faloku, asked the court to grant the Exparte application brought before it under Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, Section 47 (1, 2 & 3) of the first Schedule of the Electoral Act of 2022, and the Court’s inherent jurisdiction as referenced by Section 6 (6) A & B of the 1999 Constitution.
The application, which was based on six grounds, sought seven reliefs, as well as a schedule of documents to interrogate the respondent (INEC), which was supported by a 12-paragraph affidavit.
Counsel for the applicant adopted all of the affidavit’s averments and urged the Court to grant the application.
Ejeseme also informed the Court that they had deposed a 15-paragraph affidavit and are relying on all of the averments in that affidavit to urge the court to grant the application.
After hearing from the applicants, the presiding judge, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, granted the two applicants’ request.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC, declared Tinubu the winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election after he received a majority of votes cast.
Furthermore, Tinubu met the constitutional requirement of scoring 25% in two-thirds of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, according to INEC.