The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State capital has granted an order for the candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency seat, in the 2019 General elections, Innocent Ovat, to inspect the Smart Card Reader machines that were deployed in each polling unit during the elections.
The Order, which came from a motion ex-parte, also directed “the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State to forthwith produce, provide and release to the petitioners, for their own use in this petition, certified true copies of the printout of data of accredited/verified voters of each polling unit as recorded by the smart card readers deployed for the election to the membership of the House of Representatives of Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency.”
Other materials, which the Tribunal Order INEC to release to the petitioner include the certified true copies of Form EC 8A of all the polling units/voting points in Etung and Obubra Local Government Areas.
The petition with suit number EPT/CAL/HR/12/2019 further requested as granted, “an Order mandating, compelling and directing the REC of INEC (3rd Respondent) to forthwith produce, provide and release to the petitioners for their own use in this petition CTC of 3rd Respondent letter of 22/02/2019 and captioned: Forwarding of Commission’s decision in pursuant of order Court Suit No: FHC/CA/CS/731/2018, Hon Godwin Etim John vs APC and others”.
The chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Vincent M. Agbata, who read the Order on behalf of the 3-man panel, said the petitioners will have accesses to the inspection and the materials as ordered in the company of the secretary of the tribunal.
Petitioners in the case are Innocent Ovat and African Democratic Congress while the respondents are Hon. Michael Irom Etaba, Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ovat, who spoke with newsmen, said he had written to INEC and held meetings with the REC, requesting to have access to the materials to help his petition to no avail, hence his ex-parte application to the tribunal. The matter was adjourned for date to be communicated to the parties.