Rowdy Session in Enugu Tribunal as Labour Party moves to Commit INEC Commissioner to Prison

The Enugu State Governorship Tribunal witnessed a tumultuous session on Friday when the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, failed in their attempt to have the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Chukwuemeka Chukwu, imprisoned on charges of contempt of court.The party also lost the bid for an extended window to close her case.The party had accused the REC of allegedly refusing to allow them to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the conduct of the March 18 general election as ordered by the tribunal .The court had however on Thursday rejected the application of the LP on the grounds of fair hearing, insisting that the REC be served to enable him to respond.Recall that the petitioners had on March 29 applied for an order to enable them to inspect the BVAS machine, an application that was granted on the same date.However, it was not until Wednesday 12th July that the petitioners, through their counsel, Valerie Azinge (SAN) drew the attention of the court to the 29th March ex-parte order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to grant them access to inspect BVAS.But the inspection exercise became controversial. Whereas LP, through their counsel, Azinge, alleged that INEC refused to grant them access to the BVAS, 14 other political parties present, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), insisted that INEC had complied wit the court order.They alleged that whereas the order was for LP to inspect the BVAS machines, the petitioners attempted to tamper with and operate them when brought out by INEC for inspection.Meanwhile, following the refusal of the tribunal to commit the Enugu REC to prison, the LP made a case for the adjournment of the tribunal to Tuesday 18th July, thereby extending their allotted time to close their case by two days.However, the tribunal refused, insisting that adjournment must be day-to-day and that the petitioners must be present in court on Saturday and Sunday with their witnesses to conclude their case.It was at this point that some Labour Party supporters began to shout, thereby disrupting proceedings in court, which made the Tribunal to rise.It took the intervention of the police to calm the situation before the members of the tribunal returned and adjourned the case to Saturday, July 15.