Fayemi vs Olusola: PDP lawyers, INEC clash over alleged unfair access to electoral materials

Counsels representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its
governorship candidate, Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola Eleka , before
the election petition tribunal on the July 14 poll, on Wednesday
raised the alarm, accusing the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) in Ekiti State of not cooperating fully with them on
the need to have a fair access to electoral materials during
inspection as ordered by the tribunal.

One of the PDP legal counsels, Nurudeen Adegboye, who decried that
INEC ought to have granted separate access to his team and that of the
respondents comprising the counsels to the All Progressive Congress
(APC) and its governorship candidate, John Kayode Fayemi, already
declared winner of the poll by INEC, for the inspection of the
electoral materials, alleged that: "The lNEC have not been cooperating
with us very well on the urgent need for us to have separate sessions
with the respondents, as to checking and assessing the electoral
materials.

We got our court orders separately to come for our inspection. The
respondents also got their own order separately for the same exercise.

"Instead of INEC to set up a separate inspection for us to have our
own separately so that either party would do its inspection without
any hitch, INEC decided that we should have a joint inspection for the
exercise. As a result of this, the respondents have been frustrating
us, bringing all sorts of unreasonable demands and not allowing us to
move at our pace, but time is of essence as we are going to open our
case and defend it first. We don't have the luxury of time but the
respondents have all the time and can take their time.

"We need the report of the inspection first. We have areas where there
are challenges which we are concentrating. Our interest are not the
same with that of the respondents: The Respondents would say they want
to go to one local government area today, while we would be interested
in another local government and because of the joint inspection INEC
foisted on us, we have been having issues.

It is INEC that is causing this problem by making us to have joint
session and this is not right. It is not proper.

"What we want from INEC is that they should split us and let us have
separate access to the materials and assess the electoral materials
separately because our interest are different and our court orders are
also different. If INEC gives a separate session, we won't be having
issues as to when and where we would go for the materials. If
possible, we should have representative that would be watching either
party during the separate sessions," he said.

Reacting to the allegations, INEC Public Relations Officer, Taiwo
Gbadegesin, said: "The bottom line is that the INEC has been so fair
to both parties. The schedule is that the commission make the
materials available and we have been doing that.

" The arrangement as to having access to the materials has been left
to the two parties, all along, it has been smooth with the joint
session. If there is any disagreement now, they have to go back and
re-arrange on how to do the inspection between themselves. Our own
part is to provide the materials at any time they ask for them.

" All the materials are in our strong room here at the state office,
we don't have any material in any of the local government areas. All
we do is to ask the electoral officials and local government officials
in charge to come and show them the materials/and we have been so
transparent on this. We have nothing to hide. We don't decide whether
they would have a joint or separate session. That is for them to
decide between the two of them, " he clarified.

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