The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Dr Dakuku Peterside, have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of frustrating the order of the state election petition tribunal to inspect materials used for the April 11, governorship election in the state.
The tribunal had about two months ago ordered for the forensic audit of the electoral materials used for the election in the state.
But the publicity secretary of the party in the state, Chris Finebone, had in a statement made available yesterday, disclosed that INEC in Rivers State has refused to obey the order of the court months after it was issued.
He said, “The attention of the APC, has been drawn to the refusal this morning by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, for the APC and its governorship candidate in the last April elections in Rivers State, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside to conduct forensic examination and analysis of election materials as per three separate orders of the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
“It would be recalled that the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja had handed three orders, at various times, in which it was unequivocally stated that the INEC must allow and facilitate the forensic examination of specified election materials for the purpose of tendering same before the tribunal.
“By Tuesday September 1, 2015 the INEC represented by its external solicitor, Julius Mba, Esq, Solicitors to the APC and those of the PDP held a meeting where they set out the modalities for the inspection which they scheduled to commence the next day.
“However, on the morning of today [Wednesday, September 2, 2015], Julius Mba, Esq announced that the INEC would no more allow the scanning and cropping of ballot papers and other materials which are at the centre of forensic examination and analysis as ordered by the Tribunal. Every attempt to make the INEC External Solicitor and his clients to see reason has so far fallen on deaf ears.
“Consequent upon this glaring display of open disobedience to Orders of Tribunal, the APC lawyers and agents withdrew from the process as further participation would amount to legitimizing the illegality that INEC has imposed on the exercise.”
Finebone added that the party would like the public to note that the present decision by INEC to disallow the scanning, photocopying and cropping of the materials amounts to a clear disobedience of valid orders of the tribunal and a means of taking away what the tribunal explicitly granted the party and its candidate at the tribunal
The APC also called on the leadership of INEC to quickly regain its sense of reason and do the right thing as ordered by the tribunal without further delay.