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Breaking News: Anxiety in Edeoga’s camp, as Labour Party closes case on Sunday

By Andrew Ochei

… tribunal adjourns application to subpoena INEC

The Enugu State Governorship Election Tribunal today, Friday, refused to grant the application of Chijioke Edeoga, the Labour Party governorship candidate in the March 18 election seekihg to obtain another order subpoenaeing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to bring the BVAS machines to the tribunal for inspection by the party.

The lead counsel to the petitioner, V. O Azinge, SAN had reminded the court yesterday, that the INEC, which is the first respondent, had refused to effect the order of the court by allowing the petitioner to inspect the BVAS machines.

In response, the INEC lawyer, Humphrey Okoli told the court that the INEC had obeyed the order by granting access to the Labour Party, adding that the attendance register to that effect was with him in the court.

Azinge however denied the position of the first respondent, praying the court to mandate the first respondent (INEC) to comply with the said order of the court issued on March 29, 2023.

The chairman of the tribunal, M.K Akano in her ruling told the petitioners’ counsel to do the needful by serving a fresh subpoena on INEC.

Addressing the tribunal today, Friday, the petitioners’ counsel told the tribunal that the first respondent had disobeyed the court by not bringing the BVAS to tribunal after being served the subpoena on Thursday.

Objecting to their arguments, the INEC lawyer told the tribunal that the petitioner failed to comply with the rules of service, stating that the petitioner had served his subpoena on the wrong person instead of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC.

Justice Akano, in her ruling told the parties that the matter had been adjourned to Saturday for continuation of hearing.

This did not not go down well with the petitioner as he told the court that they had Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, to conclude their case, stating that INEC does not open on weekends and Sundays, while demanding for an extension of time within the next weekdays so that INEC could come for the inspection before their case is closed.

The tribunal maintained that the court was time-bound to deliver its judgement within 180 days and had other cases to entertain.

“This court is time-bound to deliver its judgment within a specific period of time, and will not be able to give any extension of time to any party because there are more cases to be heard,” the tribunal maintained.

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