Labour Party’s call for E-Transmission of polling unit results during Gubernatorial Elections upheld by court

The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted leave to the Labour Party and 41 other parties to request Judicial Review and Mandamus Orders ahead of the governorship and state house of assembly elections on March 11th. The orders compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to directly and electronically upload results from polling units in Lagos State to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

Justice Peter Lifu granted the leave in response to the suit filed by the Labour Party, its governorship candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and 40 others on Thursday. The court also restrained INEC from using individuals or companies affiliated with any political party in the distribution of electoral materials.

The applicants sought declarations that prevent INEC from engaging partisans to distribute election materials, as well as an order compelling the electoral body to comply with the guidelines on the conduct of elections. The applicants 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.

In his ruling, Justice Lifu granted leave for the applicant to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the defendant and its agents to comply with clause 38 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022. This order mandates the presiding officer of all polling units to electronically transmit the result of the polling unit directly to the collation system, use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after completing the voting and results procedures.

Additionally, the court granted a declaration that the defendant and its agents are bound to comply with Clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022, by mandating the presiding officer of all polling units to paste the Publication of Result Poster EC60(E) at the polling units conspicuously after completing the EC8A result sheet.

The court granted the applicant’s request to abridge the time within which INEC may respond to its Originating Summons, and adjourned the matter till March 7th, 2023 for hearing. The suit was filed in response to the controversies surrounding 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.

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