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Tribunal warns INEC against disregarding order

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal for Anambra has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against disregarding orders made by it.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Nayai Aganaba, gave the
warning during the hearing of a petition filed by Mr Ifeanyi Ibezi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance against the election of Mr Obinna Chidoka of PDP.
Ibezi is challenging Chidoka’s victory in the March 28 election in Idemili North and South Federal Constituency of the state on grounds of alleged electoral malpractices.
The tribunal expressed displeasure over the failure of INEC to respond to its subpoenas.
“I am not happy with the way and manner INEC officials treat orders of the tribunal.
“Once a subpoena or any court order is issued, those concerned should respect and respond to the directive to avoid clogging the wheel of justice,” the chairman said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a bailiff, Mr Peter Obuesi, had during the hearing of the petition, informed the court that he served the subpoena to officers at the INEC headquarters but they refused to receive it.
Obuesi said that INEC officials insisted that the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Edwin Nwatarali, had given a standing order that he would personally collect all court orders.
However, the bailiff said he could not serve the REC as he had travelled out of the state.
Meanwhile, Counsel to Chidoka, Mr Osita Nnadi (SAN), had applied for the subpoena to enable INEC to tender some electoral materials used for the conduct of the poll in the area.
Following the failure of INEC to appear in court, the tribunal adjourned the petition till Tuesday for continuation of hearing.