Ahead of the March 11 governorship and state house of assembly elections, the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted leave to Labour Party and 41 others to apply for Judicial Review and Mandamus Orders compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to directly and electronically upload results from the polling units in the state to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
Justice Peter Lifu, while granting the leave in the suit filed on Thursday by the party, its governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and 40 others, also restrained INEC from engaging the services of individuals or companies who are members of any political party in the distribution of electoral materials.
The party and the other applicants in the case had approached the court via a motion ex parte to compel INEC to comply with Clause 37 and 38 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022 on electronic transmission of results and Section 27 of the Electoral Act on distribution of election materials.
Through their lawyer, Ibrahim Abass, they sought declarations preventing INEC from engaging persons who are partisans from distributing election materials as well as an order compelling the electoral body to adhere to the guidelines on the conduct of elections.
“That leave is hereby granted to the applicant to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the defendant and all its agents and/or 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 electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units, 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.
“A declaration that the defendant and all its agents and/or their privies or any persons acting under their directions are bound 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 to wit: Mandating the presiding officer of all polling unit to paste the Publication of Result Poster EC60(E) at the polling units conspicuously after completing the EC8A result sheet.”
The court further granted the applicants request to abridge the time within which INEC may respond to its Originating Summons, while ordering that the order and the originating summons be served on before adjourning the matter till March 7th 2023 for Hearing.
The applicants filed the suit in the wake of the controversies that had trailed the conduct of last week’s presidential and National Assembly elections, following INEC’s failure to electronically transmit the entire results on its portal after votes were counted at various polling units.