The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected a judgement delivered on Thursday by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which ordered the Commission to allow two Plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) in the absence of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), saying that it would appeal the judgement at a higher court immediately.
Two registered voters, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023 and filed on February 8, 2023 had challenged INEC on the position that only a PVC can be used in voting in an election.
Delivering judgement on the suit, Justice Obiora Egwuatu ordered INEC to allow the two registered voters to use TVCs in the forthcoming March 18 governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
Justice Egwuatu said that the order was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC database.
“An order is made compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been duly captured in the National Register of Voter’s database.
“A declaration is made by this court that the plaintiffs, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in the defendant’s (INEC) central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of the defendant’s maintained Register of Voters, the plaintiffs are entitled to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards in the forthcoming 2023 General Election,” the judge ruled.
The judge, however, said that he was unable to grant prayer three sought by the Plaintiffs, which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to use same to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.
He held that, “This suit having not been brought in a representative capacity, I find myself unable to grant any relief pursuant to prayer three of the plaintiffs’ application.”
The court held that there was no portion of any law, both the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2022 that states that it is only PVCs that could be used for voting, but that the law under Section 47 only provides for a voter’s card.
But, reacting in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the Commission would appeal the judgement.
The terse statement reads in part: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been served a copy of the judgement delivered today by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division which ordered it to allow two Plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter’s Card (TVC).
“The Commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court.”