The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed financial constraints for the delay in the inspection and scanning of materials used in the September 28 governorship election in Edo State.
The commission said there was no budgetary provision to pay its workers’ overtime allowance, especially on Saturdays.
INEC’s lawyer Onyinye Anumonye spoke in Benin, the state capital, at the State Election Petitions Tribunal on the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The PDP candidate is praying the tribunal to declare him winner of the election in which Godwin Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner with 319,483 votes.
Anumonye spoke while objecting to a PDP application praying the court to vary its order made about three months ago on the inspection of electoral materials.
He said: “In urging the Lord to refuse the application and in moving forward, the counter-affidavit filed, we made out a case of hardship, which the first respondent (INEC) occasioned, particularly in respect to financial constraints in terms of the part of the commission working overtime in view of the tenure of the prayers contained in the application.
“In their (PDP) address of citing cases, the petitioner questioned if hardship would be a ground for refusal of such application. But our submission is that if any party occasioned hardship, then, my Lord will be duty-bound to refuse the application.
“We urge our Lords to be persuaded by the submissions we have made in our written address.”
PDP’s lawyer Kemi Pinheiro said INEC was conniving with APC agents and Obaseki to frustrate the inspection and scanning of the electoral materials by the petitioners.
Pinheiro said they have succeeded in scanning election materials of on local government since the order was given last year.
Obaseki’s lawyer, Ken Mozia (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the application for alleged inconsistency. (The Nation)