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INEC kicks as court okays use of temporary voter card for voting

By Ademola Olonilua, Abbas Jimoh & John. C. Azu   The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to…

By Ademola Olonilua, Abbas Jimoh & John. C. Azu

 

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the use of Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) in the March 18 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu made the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by two aggrieved Nigerians seeking the use of TVCs in the general elections in the absence of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

The plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in the suit filed on February 8 and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023, had asked the court, among others, to determine “Whether a person whose name appears in the electronic format in  INEC’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of the register of voters and has been assigned a Voter’s Identification Number (VIN), can be said to be entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her TVC in the general election to be conducted by the defendant.”

Justice Egwuatu said that the order was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC’s database.

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The court held that there was no portion of the law, both the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act that states that it is only PVCs that could be used, but that the law under Section 47 provided for a voter’s card.

“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’s) 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 said.

The judge, however, said that he was unable to grant prayer three which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.

“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,” he declared.

Meanwhile, the INEC has said that it would appeal against the judgement.

The Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said this on Thursday night in Abuja.

“INEC has been served a copy of the judgement delivered today (Thursday) by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division which ordered it to allow two plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter Cards (TVC). The commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court,” he said.

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