In a recent development, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of obstructing their access to election materials utilized in the November 11 governorship election in Kogi State.
Following a directive from the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, INEC was ordered to allow SDP access for a forensic assessment of the election materials. However, the SDP’s Director of New Media, Isaiah Davies Ijele, alleges that INEC is failing to comply.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Ijele stated, “A court order was served to INEC on Monday, and our team of forensic experts has been in Lokoja ready to commence their work.”
He further added, “Yesterday, our forensic experts visited the INEC office to initiate their work, but Barrister Faith Kotso once again hindered their progress.”
The statement highlights Barrister Faith Kotso’s reported delay tactics, claiming she needed until Wednesday, November 29, 2023, to communicate with other stakeholders. This delay, according to SDP, questions whether Kotso considers herself above the court order or is influenced by the Bello-led administration.
The SDP also raised concerns about political thugs, allegedly affiliated with Governor Bello, controlling roads leading to the INEC office, posing as SDP supporters and hindering access.
Meanwhile, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Kogi State has adjourned pending the completion of the inspection of election materials by the SDP.
The tribunal had previously ordered INEC to provide certified copies of electoral materials within 48 hours.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the SDP acknowledged INEC’s cooperation but sought additional time for the inspection, emphasizing the need for a thorough and fair democratic process.