A Federal High Court in Abuja has held 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.
The presiding judge, 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.
Justice Nwite further held that the collating and transferring election results manually in the 2023 general elections cannot be said to be contrary to the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The judgment was on a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP), with INEC as the sole defendant.
Recall that the Labour Party had prayed the court to declare that INEC has no power to opt for manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions the Electoral Act, 2022. It urged the court to issue an order directing compelling INEC to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of result in the forthcoming general election.
In the judgement he delivered on January 23, 2023, Justice Nwite held that the plaintiff misconstrued the provisions of the law and proceeded to dismiss the suit.
Justice Nwite noted 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 also 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.
“In view of the above, I am finding that, by the provisions of Sections 50(2) and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 the correct interpretation of the said statutes is that the defendant (INEC) is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results could be transmitted and I so hold. “Consequently this matter is hereby dismissed,” Justice Nwite said.