While the All Progressives Congress (APC) was challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically upload the results of the governorship and State House of Assembly elections, a Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the Commission must electronically transmit the results of the exercise in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu made the judgment on Friday following a suit filed by the Labour Party, its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, and 13 state house of assembly candidates for the March 18 elections. The applicants claimed that during the presidential election on February 25, 2023, INEC and its officers failed to paste election results at polling units and to upload scanned election results on the IREV through the BVAS. They argued that INEC’s failure to act had resulted in serious prejudice and had created uncertainty and frustration.
INEC denied most of the facts deposed to by the applicants in its response before the court, claiming that presiding officers and other election officers had duly complied with the provisions and pasted Forms EC8A at the various polling units at the end of the election in Akwa Ibom State and other states of the federation. They also submitted that the delay in uploading Form EC8A on the portal (IReV) was due to glitches beyond the control of the Commission, which were later ratified, and all Forms EC8A were uploaded on the portal.
In his judgment, Justice Egwuatu granted an order of Mandamus compelling INEC, its servants, agents, privies, and any person acting under their directions to comply with and enforce the provisions of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022, including mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to paste the publication of result poster EC60 (E) at the polling units and 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 EC8A to the respondent’s (INEC’s) Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units’ voting and results procedures. The court also 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 governorship and house of assembly election in Akwa Ibom State on 18 March 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 and personnel.