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By Dapo Akinrefon
Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria over alleged frustration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to inspect electoral documents in the governorship election petition tribunal in Adamawa State.

In a petition by counsel to Mr. Markus Gundiri, ACN governorship candidate, Mr. Charles Edosomwan, SAN, the party alleged that there was 'conspiratorial activities of the officers of INEC in Adamawa to deliberately frustrate the inspection exercise ordered at the instance of the petitioners by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Yola.

The party said 'officers of INEC who are supposed to be unbiased umpires in electoral disputes have deliberately connived with the representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, one of the respondents in our petition, to ensure that the ballot paper inspection exercise ordered by the Tribunal would be truncated.'

The petition read in part: 'It is rather disappointing to note that officers of INEC rather take instruction from the PDP elements around in a petition against the same PDP on how inspection exercise ordered by the Tribunal shall be carried out by the petitioners.

'A particular person has been the one issuing instructions to the INEC Legal Officer, Amina Bappa and other officers of INEC and has been always directing the Electoral Officers of the various local government areas being challenged by the petitioners not to bring the ballot papers for inspection and scanning.

'These officers did not allow any inspection activity to take place until after the Tribunal, grudgingly, April 23, 2012, postponed the commencement of hearing of the petition for a week to allow the inspection exercise to be completed.

'Rather than allowing the order of the Tribunal to be given effect, INEC officers on duty claimed that no Electoral Officer was around on the April 24, 2012 when the exercise ought to continue and hence the exercise had to be shifted until April 25.'