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Guber Tribunal: Rowdy Session As LP Loses Bid To Commit Enugu REC To Prison

… Bid For Extension Of time Also Fails

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – It was a rowdy session at the Enugu State Governorship Tribunal, Friday, as the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in Enugu State, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, lost the bid to commit the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Enugu State, Chukwuemeka Chukwu, to prison for alleged contempt of court as well as its bid for an extended window for closure of their case from Sunday 16th June to Tuesday 18th June.

The application by the petitioners against Mr. Chukwu for alleged refusal to allow them to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the conduct of the 18th March 2023 general election as ordered by the tribunal was rejected by the tribunal on the grounds of fair hearing, insisting that the REC be served to enable him to respond.

Recall that the petitioners had on 29th March 2023 applied for leave to inspect the BVAS machine, an application that was granted by the tribunal on the same date.

However, it was not until Wednesday 12th July that the petitioners, through their counsel, Valerie Azinge (SAN) drew the attention of the court to an ex-parte order given by the Tribunal on 29th March, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant LP access to inspect BVAS.

But the inspection exercise became controversial. Whereas LP, through their counsel, Azinge, alleged that INEC refused to grant them access to the BVAS, 14 other political parties present, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), insisted that INEC had complied wit the court order.

They alleged that whereas the order was for LP to inspect the BVAS machines, the petitioners attempted to tamper with and operate them when brought out by INEC for inspection.

Meanwhile, following the refusal of the tribunal to commit the Enugu REC to prison, the LP made a case for the adjournment of the tribunal to Tuesday 18th July, thereby extending their allotted time to close their case by two days.

The tribunal refused, insisting that adjournment must be day-to-day and that the petitioners must be present in court on Saturday and Sunday with their witnesses to conclude their case.

It was at this point that labour supporters began to shout, thereby disrupting proceedings in court, which made the Tribunal to rise.

Our Correspondent reports that it took the intervention of the police to calm the situation before the members of the tribunal returned and adjourned the case to Saturday, July 15.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=89424

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