A Special Committee set up by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to inspect election materials used in the conduct of the March 18, 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly election in Cross River State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for deliberately frustrating the committee from executing its mandate despite a subsisting court order
CONVERSEER gathered that the Cross River State Governorship Election Tribunal had granted the PDP and its Governorship Candidate, Senator Sandy Onor relief to inspect relevant sensitive materials used in the aforementioned elections.
The relief constituted one of the prayers sought for by the plaintiff in Petition No: EPT/CR/GOV/03M/2023 dated April 4, 2023, duly filed by Sen. Sandy Onor, the PDP Governorship candidate, before the four-man Tribunal led by Hon. Justice J.O. Okeaya Inneh, with Hon. Justice M.L. Omar and Hon. Justice O.O. Olatawura as members.
Briefing newsmen in Calabar on Friday, April 14, 2023, 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 a brick wall and accused the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Gabriel Yomere, and the Head of Operations of playing hide-and-seek-game with them.
Agbor said when they 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 stumps and other essential materials”.
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According to him, “the action of the REC is a flagrant disregard to the subsisting Order issued by h 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 to 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”.
When contacted on phone, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River State, Prof Gabriel Yomere, claimed he is not aware of any impediment hindering the PDP team from inspecting the materials.
His words: “I was diagnosed with glaucoma and I am currently in Kano State to see my ophthalmologist for a likely surgery. But before travelling, I handed over to the Administrative Secretary with specific instructions to ensure strict compliance to every Court order.
“PDP is free to access every material used at the elections except the BIVAS which they must apply to our headquarters in Abuja before we can allow them to check”.
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