Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja on Friday held that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “is empowered by law to determine the mode of collating and transmitting election results.”
In a judgement, Justice Nwite stated that only INEC has the prerogative to direct how the Polling Unit Presiding Officer should transfer election results, including the total number of accredited persons and results of the ballot.
Justice Nwite further held that the collating and transferring of 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 with INEC as the sole defendant.
The party had prayed the court to declare that INEC has no power to opt for a manual method other than the electronic method provided for by the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
It urged the court to issue an order directing INEC to comply with the Electoral Act, 2022 on the electronic transmission of results in the general election.
In the judgement 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 also noted that Section 60, subsection 5 of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides for the transfer of election results, including the total number of accredited voters from the polling unit, adding that Section 62 (2) of the same Act, provides for compilation, maintenance and continuous update of the register of election result as a distinct database for all polling units’ results as collated in all elections conducted by the commission.
Justice Nwite held that the said Section 62(2) has mandated that such register of election results shall be kept in an electronic format by the electoral body at its national headquarters.