Latest News: Court Orders INEC To Electronically Transmit Guber, Assembly Election Results
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) was appealing the judgement of the Federal High Court in Lagos ordering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit the results of Saturday’s governorship and State House of Assembly elections, another Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Commission to electronically transmit the results in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.
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Justice Obiora Egwuatu rendered the decision on Friday in response to a lawsuit filed by the Labour Party, its candidate for governor in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, and thirteen candidates for the state house of assembly elections on March 18.
In the initial summons dated March 15 and filed by their attorney Moses Usoh-Abia, the applicants named INEC as the sole defendant.
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In conducting the presidential election on February 25, 2023, INEC and its officers failed to post election results at polling units and upload scanned election results to the IREV via the BVAS, according to the summary of the applicants’ case.
They argued that INEC’s refusal to act has resulted in grave prejudice, uncertainty, and frustration for the applicants at their various polling units and wards, and for the entire general election.
In addition, they argued that if the court does not grant the reliefs, the same failure will occur at the governorship and house of assembly elections on March 18, 2023.
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INEC, in its response to the court, denied the majority of the applicants’ testimony. They also claimed that the presiding officers and other election officers adhered Forms EC8A at the end of the election in Akwa Ibom State and other states of the federation in accordance with the provisions.
In addition, they argued that the initial delay in uploading Form EC8A to the portal (IReV) affected the entire country, not just Akwa Ibom State, and was caused by technical glitches beyond the Commission’s control, which were later rectified, and all Forms EC8A were uploaded to the portal. According to them, the situation ensured there was no manipulation of results during the presidential election on February 25, 2023.
In conclusion, the commission requested that the court dismiss the applicants’ lawsuit on the grounds that it was incompetent, without merit, frivolous, speculative, and an abuse of the court system.
In his decision, Justice Egwuatu issued a Mandamus order compelling INEC, its employees, agents, privies, and anyone acting at their direction to:
a. Comply with and enforce the provision of clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022 for the conduct of the governorship and houses of assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State on March 18, 2023, namely mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to post the publication of result poster EC60 (E) at the polling units conspicuously after completing the EC8A result sheet.
b. Comply with and enforce clause 38 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022 for the conduct of governorships and houses of assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State on the 18th of March, 2023, mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to electronically transmit or transfer the results of the polling units directly to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the voter’s photo