The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit via BVAS Saturday’s governorship elections and the house of assembly results in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.
The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by the Labour Party and Uduakobong Udoh, who is running for governor of Akwa Ibom, as well as 13 other candidates for the state’s House of Assembly in the March 18 elections.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, also ordered the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling unit voting and results’ procedures.
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 that are non-partisans or known supporters of any political party for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel.
According to Egwuatu, granting the petitioners’ requests would not harm the commission’s operation but instead energize it because the electoral umpire had stated in its filed affidavit that it was aware of its legal obligations and had not disregarded them.
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 Saturday’s governorship elections in Akwa Ibom.
They also prayed the court 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.
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.
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