The legal team of Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) on Wednesday granted the legal team of the Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson’s access to inspect ballot papers and other sensitive electoral materials used for the conduct of the December 5 and January 9 governorship election in Bayelsa state.
The inspection of the electoral materials is sequel to the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Tuesday, which granted the governor’s request to inspect ballot papers used for the election in the state.
Addressing the governor’s legal team shortly before the commencement of the inspection exercise, at the INEC state office in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Austin Okojie, said as a transparent body, the Commission is ready and prepared to comply with all the orders of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Okojie said, “The materials are ready and we are prepared to comply with the Tribunal order based on transparency. Our materials are intact, there is no material that has been mutilated, and there is no material that we have pour water or acid into, there is no material that has caught fire.”
In his remarks, a member of Governor Dickson legal Nicholas Obihise, said the inspection is in pursuance to the order of the Bayelsa State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, which granted the governor the leave to inspect ballot papers that were used for the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa state, specifically that of Brass Local Government Area.
Obihise said, “For purposes of exigency we want to look at Brass Local Government Area and if we have need for other local government we will go for it, we are just starting today and we will be here for a couple of days depending on how long the procedure will take us.
“In Election Petition Tribunal, you are allowed to direct your petition to a specific area, if you make a specific prayer you cannot go beyond that and what we applied for and was granted us at the moment is to inspect ballot papers used in Brass Local Government Area.”