Court orders INEC to transmit results of governorship polls electronically

Court orders INEC to transmit results of governorship polls electronically
Court orders INEC to transmit results of governorship polls electronically

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to electronically transmit Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly election results in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu in a judgment also ordered the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to upload a scanned copy of the form EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal immediately after the completion of all the polling unit voting in Akwa Ibom.

The judge further directed the commission to conspicuously paste the publication of its result posters EC60(E) at polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets in the state.

He equally ordered INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls in the state by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political party for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel.
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Egwuatu held that since the electoral umpire averred in its filed affidavit that it was aware of its responsibilities under the law and had not failed to carry them out, granting the prayers sought by the applicants would not do any harm to the commission but instead, energise its performance.

He gave the judgment following a suit filed by the Labour Party and its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, including 13 state House of Assembly candidates for the March 18 elections.

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The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the applicants, in the originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/334/2023, dated and filed on March 15 by their lawyer, Moses Usoh-Abia, had sued INEC as the sole defendant.

He argued that INEC created the regulations and guidelines pursuant to Section 148 and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to guide the conduct of elections and collating of election result among others.

Usoh-Abia said INEC’s refusal to comply with the law had resulted in serious prejudice; and had foisted uncertainty and frustration on his clients at their various polling units and wards.

The lawyer said if the order was not granted, the same scenario would repeat itself in the Saturday’s poll.

But INEC, in its preliminary objection, said the suit was incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.

The commission argued that the applicants had not established a justifiable action against it.

It also said that the applicants acted in contravention of the practice direction by commencing the suit via originating summons.

Delivering judgment, Justice Egwuatu said he was satisfied that the applicants had complied with the practice direction rules in the filing of their application.

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