T he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will appeal the Thursday’s ruling by the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordering it to allow the use of Temporary Voter Cards (TVC) in the March 18 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday night in Abuja.
According to him, the commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court.
“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’s Card (TVC). The commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court,” Oyekanmi said.
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday, ordered INEC to allow the use of TVCs in the March 18 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).
Justice Egwuatu said that the order was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC’s database.
“An order is made compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their TVCs issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been duly captured in the National Register of Voter’s database.
The court held that there was no portion of the law, both the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act (as amended) that states that it is only the PVCs, that could be used, but that the law under Section 47 provided for only a voter’s card.
Section 47(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) provides that: “A person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to a Presiding Officer for accreditation at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.”
The judge, however, said that he was unable to grant another prayer of the plaintiffs, which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.
Since 2011, INEC, relying on its powers to develop guidelines for the elections and manage the electoral process, had consistently maintained a policy of ‘no PVC, no voting’.
Officials of the commission has said that the judgment goes contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2033 (as amended), insisting that only voters with PVCs, should be allowed to vote in the elections.