Bob James, an Abuja-based lawyer has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the city’s Federal High Court.
James is suing the electoral umpire for its delay in uploading the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections from polling units to the IReV portal.
James argued that INEC was under “statutory duty to upload electronically on its portal the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25 February…immediately” from every polling station across Nigeria.
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He Cited section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 and section 38 (1) of INEC regulations and begged the court to determine whether or not the electoral umpire’s “failure or refusal to upload the results from each polling unit on the day of the election to the INEC IRev portal” does not nullify the polls.
According to him, the court should declare that INEC was under a statutory obligation under the Electoral Act and its guidelines to upload results from each polling station “immediately after counting and recording on Form EC 8A on election day.”
James thus prayed the court to hold that INEC’s failure to upload the results was a violation of its guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“A declaration that the presidential election held by the 1st respondent (INEC) on 25 February 2023, is null and void and of no effect whatsoever, the result of same not having been declared in accordance with the law.”
James said the court filings it was his duty as a lawyer and Nigerian to ensure that public institutions “entrusted with constitutional powers to conduct elections do so strictly in compliance with the law.”
He further argued that more than 90 per cent of the 25 February election results were not uploaded on the INEC IRev portal as of midnight on the day of the polls.
He then cited paragraph 38 of INEC regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 elections, which said an electoral presiding officer “shall use the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A (election result paper) to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) as prescribed by the commission.”
James further pointed out that the use of the word – shall- puts a statutory responsibility on INEC to electronically transmit the election results from every polling station in Nigeria to its portal.
The plaintiff argued while citing the decision of Walter Onnoghen, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in the case of SPDC Nigeria Ltd v Agbara (2019):
“Where a law prescribes the procedure to be followed in the performance of an act and that procedure is not complied with, the performance of the act in the circumstance is a nullity.”
The plaintiff listed INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants.
The case however had not been assigned to a judge for a hearing.
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