INEC is ordered by the court to upload polling unit results to IReV.
The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload the results of the March 11, 2023 governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Lagos State directly and electronically from polling units to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
Justice Peter Lifu issued the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by the Labour Party and 41 others seeking a Mandamus order compelling INEC to follow the Electoral Act and its guidelines for election conduct.
The judge ruled that the court had jurisdiction to hear the case because it was filed in accordance with the provisions of the law.
He also held that the subject matter of the suit is not a pre-election issue because the reliefs sought by the applicants deal with election preparation rather than election conduct.
He stated that all the applicants were attempting to do was compel the electoral body to follow the Constitution, its regulations, and guidelines, which it did not do during the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023.
The Labour Party, its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, and 40 others had told the court through their lawyer, Abbas Ibrahim, that some Presiding Officers had complained about not being able to upload their BVAS information due to incorrect passwords. In contrast, some users complained that the BVAS displayed a “error” message whenever they attempted to upload.
The applicants also stated that “after seeing the pattern of February 25th and 26th” and during the period of collation of the presidential results in Abuja, the handwriting on the wall became clear that the defendant, INEC, had colluded with the APC in Lagos State to steal the mandate of the good people of Lagos State and deprive the applicants of their rightful victory in their various wards. They claimed that if the court did not grant the leave, the same vote rigging would occur on March 11, 2023, during the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State.
According to the counsel, INEC explained to Nigerians the issues that caused the glitches on February 25 and reassured all stakeholders that it is working hard to fix them.
The Commission also stated that it is a law-abiding organization that does its best to meet all of its legal obligations.
However, INEC had challenged the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter through its counsel, Mrs Jacinta Kelechi-Ukaonu, claiming that the plaintiffs had failed to disclose any cause of action to warrant the court’s discretion being exercised in their favor.
INEC also claimed that the suit is premature and speculative, and that dismissing or striking out the action would be in the best interests of justice.
As a result, the court granted the applicants an order of mandamus, directing and compelling the defendant and all its agents and privies, as well as any persons acting on their behalf, to 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 House of Assembly elections in Lagos State on 11 March 2023, namely: mandating the Presiding Officer of all Polling Units to
The judge also issued a mandamus order directing and compelling the defendant and all of its agents and privies, as well as any persons acting on their behalf, to comply with and enforce the provision of clause 38 of the REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES FOR THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS, 2022 for the conduct of the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State on 11 March 2023, namely mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to transmit or transfer the and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after all polling unit voting and results procedures have been completed.
He also issued an order directing and compelling the defendant 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 governorship and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State on March 11, 2023, 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.