Court of Appeal Overturns High Court Decision on Electronic Transmission of Election Results

In a recent judgment, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on July 19, has invalidated a Federal High Court ruling that mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically upload results of the governorship and state assembly elections from polling units directly to the Results Viewing Portal (IReV). The higher court held that INEC has broad discretionary powers to determine the method of transmitting election results.

The three-man panel, consisting of Justice Abubakar Umar, Justice Olukayode Bada, and Justice Onyekachi Otisi, deemed the lawsuit brought by the Labour Party (LP) at the lower court as an abuse of the court process.

The dispute arose when the Labour Party, along with its governorship candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and 41 others, obtained a mandamus order on March 8, 2023, compelling INEC to comply with the Electoral Act and its guidelines for the conduct of elections. This order was delivered by Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Lifu's ruling compelled INEC to enforce Clauses 37 and 38 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Elections in Lagos State. These clauses required presiding officers at all polling units to display result posters conspicuously after completing the EC8A result sheet.

Additionally, the order mandated presiding officers to electronically transmit the results directly to the collation center and provide a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC's IReV immediately after the completion of all polling unit voting and result procedures.

Furthermore, Justice Lifu's judgment directed INEC to adhere to Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which specifies the use of non-partisan, independent, and reliable logistics companies for the distribution of electoral materials during elections.

However, the Court of Appeal's panel has now overturned Justice Lifu's ruling, stating that INEC has the authority to decide on the transmission and transfer methods of election results. The panel also emphasized that the lawsuit brought by the Labour Party was an abuse of the court process.

This decision by the Court of Appeal undoubtedly has significant implications for the upcoming governorship and state assembly elections. It remains to be seen how INEC will exercise its discretionary powers in determining the methods used for transmitting election results.

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts with ANN..

Previous Post Next Post