In a tweet via its verified handle @inecnigeria, the commission stated: “INEC has been served with a copy of the judgment delivered today (yesterday) by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, ordering it to allow two plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter’s Cards” (TVC).
“The commission is taking immediate action to appeal the trial court’s decision.”
INEC was ordered by the Federal High Court in Abuja to allow the use of TVC in the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu issued the order yesterday while delivering judgment in a case brought by two aggrieved Nigerians who sought the use of TVCs in this year’s general election in lieu of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The reason for the order, according to Justice Egwuatu, was that the plaintiffs were properly registered and captured in INEC’s database.
“An order is issued compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been properly registered in the National Register of Voters’ database.
“A declaration is made by this court that the plaintiffs are entitled to vote using their Temporary Voter’s Cards in the upcoming 2023 general election,” he said. “The plaintiffs have met all registration requirements and have been captured in the defendant’s (INEC’s) central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of the defendant’s maintained Register of Voters.”
Because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity, the judge ruled that he could not grant Prayer Three, which would have allowed every eligible voter with a TVC to vote.
“Since this action was not brought in a representative capacity, I am unable to grant relief pursuant to the third prayer of the plaintiffs’ application,” said Justice Aneke.
The court also determined that no portion of the law, including the Constitution of 1999 and the Electoral Act, specifies that only PVCs may be used.
He added that Section 47 of the law provides for a voter’s card, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Mr. Victor Opatola, counsel for the plaintiffs, told reporters that the ruling was a victory for all Nigerians who struggled to get registered to vote, were duly registered, but could not receive their PVCs in time for the election due to no fault of their own.
Additionally, INEC will immediately begin reconfiguring the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in preparation for the March 18 governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.
The election, which was originally scheduled for tomorrow, was postponed so that the election official could reconfigure the voting machines.
The commission had stated that the BVAS could only be activated on a specific date and time of an election, and since the machines had been used for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, it was necessary to reconfigure them for activation on the date of the governorship and House of Representatives elections.
In spite of the fact that the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal’s decision enables the commission to begin preparing the BVAS for the governorship and House of Assembly elections, it is far too late to complete the reconfiguration, the commission explained.
Rotimi Oyekunmi, the INEC chairman’s chief press secretary, told The Nation that the reconfiguration of the voting machines would begin in earnest and be completed in time for the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
When a reporter asked Oyekunmi when the exercise would begin, he replied, “I cannot tell you when we will begin reconfiguring the machines. However, I can tell you that the process will take at least three days to complete.
“The procedure will be concluded well before the election. In order to avoid the stress of hasty reconfiguration, we decided to move the same elections by one week.
Some National Assembly elections that were moved to March 11 will also take place on March 18.