Gov polls: Court orders INEC to Transmit results electronically

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 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 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.

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.

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.

The applicants, who sought seven reliefs, prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling INEC and all its agents to comply with and enforce the provision of Clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Saturday’s elections in Akwa Ibom.

They also prayed the court to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units to conspicuously paste the publication of result posters EC460(E) at the polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets.

They sought an order of mandamus compelling the commission to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units in the state to electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units, direct to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and result procedures.

They said this was in compliance with the provision of Clause 38 of the guidelines for the conduct of the polls.

The applicants equally prayed for an order directing 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 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, among other reliefs.

NAN reports that Justice Egwuatu had, on Wednesday, granted leave to the applicants to proceed with a judicial review, filed requisite motion and put INEC on notice, following an ex-parte motion moved by Usoh-Abia.

Upon resumed hearing on the matter on Friday, Usoh-Abia informed that he had complied with the earlier court order and that their motion was served on INEC same Wednesday.