A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that it is only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is empowered by law to determine the mode of collating and transmitting election results.
Justice Emeka Nwite, in a judgment, also held that it is only INEC that has the prerogative to direct how Polling Unit Presiding Officer should transfer election results, including the total number of accredited voters and results of the ballot.
Before dismissing the suit, Justice Nwite held that the collating and transferring election results manually in the 2023 general elections is in line with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The judgment was on a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 filed by the Labour Party (LP), with INEC as the only defendant.
LP had prayed the court to declare that INEC has no power to choose manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions the Electoral Act, 2022.
The Labour Party urged the court to issue an order directing INEC to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of result in the forthcoming general election.
The judge said: “From the argument of the learned plaintiff’s counsel, I am of the humble opinion that the bone of contention or the sections that seeks for interpretation are actually sections 50(2) 60(5) and 62(2) of the Electoral Act, 2922.
“Section 47(2) as cited by the learned counsel to the plaintiff only deals with accreditation of voters using a Smart Card Reader, but not collation or transmission of result as postulated by the learned counsel,” the judge held.
Justice Nwite said that Section 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides for the transfer of election result, including the total number of the accredited voters from the polling unit.
He noted that Section 62(2) of the same Act provides for compilation, maintenance and continuous update of the register of election result as distinct database for all polling units’ results as collated in all elections conducted by the commission.