Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Supreme Court Stays Execution Of Appeal Court Over Inspection Of Kogi Gov. Election Materials

The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of the orders of the Court of Appeal in Abuja setting aside the inspection order that was granted to the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The Tribunal on November 25, 2023, granted an ex parte order, allowing the SDP and its governorship candidate in Kogi for the 2023 election, Murtala Ajaka to carry out a forensic examination of all the Bimodal Voters Accreditation system (BVAS) used in the election, among other reliefs.

But on Friday, March 1, 2024, a three-man panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice J.O.K. Oyewole, in its ruling, set aside the inspection order.

The panel, which had Justices A. I. Banjoko and A.B. Mohammed as its other members, noted that the scope of the inspection order must stay within the limit allowed under the Electoral Act.

The Court of Appeal noted that though inspection is allowed under the Act, it must be jointly carried out with the respondent.

The Appellate Court had held that the ex parte order made by the Tribunal on November 25, 2023 at the instance of the 1st and 2nd Respondents “are within the jurisdictional competence of the said Tribunal”.

“However, paragraphs ‘G’, ‘K’ and ‘N’ thereof are beyond the scope of Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022. The said paragraphs ‘G’, ‘K’ and ‘N’ are hereby expunged,” the Court of Appeal ruled.

It added that the inspection purportedly done pursuant to the said Orders of the Tribunal without the presence of the Appellant “violates paragraph ‘H’ of the said orders and it is hereby set aside”.

However, on Thursday, March 7, 2024, the Supreme Court stayed the execution of the orders of the Court of Appeal made on March 1, 2024 regarding the inspection and paragraphs ‘G’, ‘K’ and ‘N’.

The interim stay of execution followed the application for an interim stay made by the legal team of the Petitioners.

Moving the application on Thursday morning, Chief J.S. Okutepa (SAN), leading Shaibu Enejoh Aruwa (SAN) and other lawyers, urged the apex court to grant the application to avoid irreparable damages the orders of the Court of Appeal would cause the Petitioners.

The Supreme Court agreed and ordered for stay in terms of the reliefs sought in the motion filed on March 5, 2024. The motion on notice has been adjourned to March 11, 2024, for a hearing.

“Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had gone to the Appeal Court to stop the Tribunal from inspecting electoral materials used for Kogi election.

“The Appeal Court said they should go back and re-do the inspection again so the SDP and Ajaka went to the Supreme Court and got a stay of execution order. So there is no need to start the inspection over again.

“Supreme has said they should continue from where they stopped,” a member of the Ajaka camp said after the ruling on Thursday.

Source :Sahara reporters.

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