The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Wednesday granted the request by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to be allowed to inspect the electoral materials used by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conduct of the February 23 polls.

But the three-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki unanimously rejected other prayers by the applicants seeking orders permitting them to, among others, photocopy and scan the electoral documents.

The tribunal also refused their requests to be allowed to conduct forensic examination and forensic analysis of the materials and have access to card reader data and information contained in the smart card reader, cloud and electronic storage used for the polls.

The two other members of the panel, Justices Peter Ige and Emmanuel Agim, agreed with the lead ruling by Justice Aboki.

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Delivering the lead ruling, Justice Aboki said by virtue of the provisions of section 151 of the Electoral Act on which the applicants’ motion ex parte was anchored, Atiku and his party were only entitled to inspect the electoral materials and the certified true copies of all the materials used for the polls.

He said, “After a careful consideration of the application, a perusal of section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the decisions of this court in Aregbesola Vs Oyinlola 2009, Akintayo Vs Jolaoye and Hope Uzodinma Vs Osita Izunaso, it is hereby ordered:

“Leave is granted to the applicants to bring this application.

“The first respondent (INEC) shall allow the applicants to inspect the polling documents and be given the certified true copies of the polling documents used for the conduct of the presidential election across the country to enable them to institute and maintain their election petition.

“Prayers 4, 5, and 6 are hereby rejected.”

Rejecting the three prayers, the tribunal ruled that the plaintiffs could only be allowed to inspect the materials “at this stage.”

Justice Aboki held that the rejection of the prayers seeking permission to scan and photocopy the materials, and have access to card reader information, data in the cloud and electronic storage, would help “to protect the integrity of the materials in the custody of INEC.”

He added that the requests “cannot be regarded as inspection of polling materials under section 151 of the Electoral Act.”