By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has quashed a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) seeking to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic method in transmitting 2023 gubernatorial election results.
Justice Emeka Nwite, who dismissed the suit, held that Section 52(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, provided for voting and transmission of results in accordance with the procedure to be determined by INEC.
In his interpretation, Justice Nwite explained that it is within the powers of the electoral umpire to prescribe or choose the manner in which election results shall be transmitted. He said:
“I find 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 (Independent National Electoral Commission) is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results could be transmitted.”
The backstory: The Labour Party had instituted the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 on August 22, 2022, through it's lawyer against the electoral body seeking to compel it to adopt the use of electronic method in transmitting 2023 election results.
They sought a determination of the court whether having regards to combined effect of Sections 47 (2), 50 (2), 60(4), 60 (5) and 62 (1)(2) and other relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, INEC can still insist on manual collation of results in the general elections. They therefore sought the following reliefs:
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“A declaration that the respondent has no power to opt for manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“An order of this honourable court directing/compelling the respondent to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on electronic transmission of result in the forthcoming general elections