The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been mandated by the Federal High Court in Lagos to electronically and directly upload the results of the March 11, 2023 governorship and State House of Assembly elections in Lagos State from the polling unit to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
Labour Party and 41 other parties had filed a lawsuit, asking for an order of mandamus to compel INEC to abide by the Electoral Act and its rules for the conduct of the elections. Justice Peter Lifu granted the order while delivering judgment in the case.
The judge determined that because the lawsuit was filed in conformity with the law’s provisions, the court had the authority to hear it.
He further ruled that the relief requested by the applicants has nothing to do with the actual conduct of the elections and is instead related to the preparation for the elections.
He pointed out that the applicants’ only goal was to force the electoral board to follow the Constitution’s rules and regulations, which it did not do during the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023.
The Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, its gubernatorial candidate, and 40 other people informed the court through their lawyer, Abbas Ibrahim, that certain presiding officers had complained of using the improper passwords as the reason they were unable to submit their BVAS information. Some people, however, complained that whenever they attempted to upload, BVAS would display a “error” indicator.
The applicants added that it became obvious that the defendant, INEC, had conspired with the APC in Lagos State to steal the mandate of the state’s good people and deny them their just victories in their various wards “after seeing the pattern of 25th and 26 of February” and throughout the period of collation of the presidential results in Abuja.
They contended that the same vote tampering would take place on March 11, 2023, during the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections in Lagos State if the court does not grant the leave.
However, INEC had disputed the court’s authority to hear the case through its lawyer, Mrs. Jacinta Kelechi-Ukaonu, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to disclose any cause of action to support the use of the court’s discretion in their favor.
Also, INEC has contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed or struck out because it is speculative and premature.
The counsel submitted that INEC had explained to Nigerians the issues that caused the glitches experienced on February 25 and that it had reassured all stakeholders that it is working hard to fix them.
The Commission also stated that it is a law-abiding organisation doing its best to fulfill all its obligations under the law.
The court, as a result, granted the applicants’ motion for an order of mandamus directing and compelling the defendant to comply with and enforce the provisions 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 March 11, 2023, including mandating the Presiding Officer of all Polling Units to pass
The judge also granted an order of mandamus directing and compelling the defendant and all its agents and their privies or any persons acting under their directions 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 to wit: mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to transmit or transfer the result of the polling units electronically, direct to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results procedures.
He also issued an order 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 election in Lagos State on March 11, 2023, by hiring the services of impartial, competent, and reputable logistic companies that are not partisans or known supporters of any political