INSPECTION of ballot papers used by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the conduct of the September 28, 2016, governorship election in Edo State by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was aborted yesterday afternoon at the Commission’s office in Benin City. Although the process was scheduled to commence at 9am and jointly carried out by representatives of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, indications were that the counsels to the APC objected on the grounds that they had filed a suit challenging it. On reasons behind the objection, a counsel to the APC who did not want his name mentioned said, “We have filed a petition at the tribunal but the PDP say they want to go ahead.” However, counsel to the PDP, Professor Edoba Omoregie told newsmen that the fact that APC had filed a suit, which the court was yet to hear, could not alter the process both parties earlier agreed upon. The inspection came three weeks after the PDP and two weeks after the APC were granted motions ex parte by the Justice A.T. Badamasiled Edo elections tribunal to inspect all the materials used by the INEC in the election. According to a letter signed by the INEC administrative secretary, Mr Oscar Lee Amaechi, dated November 2, 2016, with reference No. INEC/ED/ADM/476/111, the process commenced following an agreement moderated by the Commission. In the letter, INEC said the commencement of the inspection “is in compliance with the tribunal order on the commission and the agreement reached between the representatives of the petitioners and the respondents on modalities for the inspection of documents.” The Commission added that all parties, including representatives of the petitioners, PDP and its candidate, Pastor Osagie IzeIyamu, and the respondents, APC and its candidate, Mr Godwin Obaseki, had earlier agreed that the inspection would be jointly carried out and as such, it would stick to this decision. It said this was “in view of the time and the need to maintain transparency and neutrality.” The Commission also said that “where a party is not present by 9am, the inspection will not stop.

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