Lawyer sues INEC over alleged failure to upload election results on IReV portal
A lawyer, Bob James, has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over its alleged refusal to electronically transmit presidential and National Assembly election results from polling units onto its IReV portal.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, 15 March, the plaintiff listed INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants.
Setting out the sole issue for the court’s determination, James said 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.
Citing section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 and section 38 (1) of INEC regulations, the plaintiff urged the court to determine whether 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.
The plaintiff urged the court to declare that INEC was under statutory obligation by virtue of the Electoral Act and its own guidelines to upload results from each polling station “immediately after counting and recording on Form Ec 8A on election day.”
James prayed the court to hold that INEC’s failure to upload the results was a violation of its own 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,” he said.
In the court filings seen by sighted on Wednesday, Mr James said he has a 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 contended that more than 90 per cent of the 25 February election results were not uploaded on INEC IRev portal as at 12 midnight on the day of the polls.
Referencing paragraph 38 of INEC regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 elections, the plaintiff 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 using the word – shall- puts a statutory responsibility on INEC to electronically transmit the election results from every polling station in Nigeria to its portal.
“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 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).
The case has not been assigned to a judge for a hearing.