By Adebisi Onanuga & By Robert Egbe
The National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Ikeja, on Friday ordered the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to allow parties challenging the election of Senator Tokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Lagos East.
The tribunal granted prayers in a motion ex-parte filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and their candidate Olusola Taiwo Moses Babatope the right to inspect the materials used in the Lagos East Senatorial election which took place on December 5, 2020.
In the ruling which was delivered by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Bassey Ikpeme, the panel acknowledged the importance of the inspection of the material as provided for under section 151 of the Electoral Act.
Other members are Justice Mohammed L. Abubakar and Justice M.M. Odanya.
“The tribunal is satisfied that the inspection of the election materials is required for the determination of the matter at hand. This tribunal hereby grants the request of the petitioners.’’
Justice Ikpeme also directed the petitioners to speed up their inspections as the tribunal is time-bound.
He ordered them to work timely and ensure that they keep to the time and the date given to them under the law.
Earlier, counsel to the petitioners, Mr. Ayomide Oluwafemi had moved the motion seeking to inspect the election materials used for the December 5, 2020 Lagos East senatorial election in the state.
The tribunal chairman adjourned the matter until February 16, 2021 for further hearing.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, yesterday asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a challenge on his eligibility for the office.
Abiru, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told Justice Chuka Obiozor that the suit filed filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last December 5 senatorial bye-election, Ademola Gbadamosi, was incompetent, defective and ought to be struck out.
Gbadamosi, the plaintiff is pursuing a claim that Abiru was ineligible for the election on grounds relating to alleged double voter registration and indigeneship.
But Abiru, who won the election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes, argued his objection to the suit through his counsel Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.
The lawyer told the judge that the Plaintiff’s suit was statute-barred, incompetent and was commenced via a wrong procedure.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, could not respond due to the absence of the APC’s counsel, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN.
Due to an earlier request for an adjournment to enable Owonikoko to take the APC’s counter affidavit and arguments therein, Justice Obiozor adjourned till January 22, for the continuation of argument.