The National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal for Akwa Ibom on Friday ordered the inspection of 450,000 ballot papers used in declaring Governor Godswill Akpabio as Senator-elect.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Akpabio the winner of the March 28 Senatorial Election for Akwa Ibom North-West District.
This declaration prompted the All Progressives Congress candidate for the Senatorial District, Chief Inibehe Okorie, to petition the Tribunal asking that Akpabio’s election be nullified for alleged irregularities.
Ruling on the prayers of the petitioner, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, directed that the polling documents used in the election be inspected.
Oyebanji explained that the order was derived from the provisions of Section 151 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010.
The section allows for inspection of polling documents if the Tribunal is satisfied that it could help maintain or defend an election petition.
The chairman further directed that the inspection should be conducted within 10 days from May 8, in the presence of the respondent or his agents and the security agents.
Earlier, the counsel for the petitioner, Chief Assam Assam (SAN), had prayed the Tribunal to grant leave for inspection of the polling documents to verify 450,000 votes scored by Akpabio.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 35 petitions had been received by the Tribunal in the state as of May 8.