Court to deliver judgment in suit seeking use of TVCs to vote, March 10
The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed March 10 to deliver judgment in a suit filed by two aggrieved Nigerians seeking the use of Temporary Voter Cards, (TVCs) in the general elections in the absence of the Permanent Voter Cards, (PVCs).
Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date on Tuesday after parties adopted their final written addresses and made brief adumbration to convince the court on their positions.
Arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, Mr Victor Opatola told the court that should the court rule in their favour, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) needed no special technology to allow people use their TVCs to vote.
He said this was because the content of the TVC was the same as the content of the PVC.
He said the only difference was the plastic used for the PVC adding that the BVAS required only a thumbprint or facial recognition so with the TVC, an eligible voter could also be allowed to vote.
He also said that judging from the just concluded elections where TVCs were used at some polling units, it was clear that the use of TVCs was possible.
Opatola prayed the court to grant the prayers of his client.
For his part, counsel to INEC, Mr Abdulaziz Sani urged the court to dismiss the plantiff’s originating summons as an unnecessary suit.
According to Sani, no TVC was used anywhere in Saturday’s election as alleged by the plaintiffs.
The senior lawyer also told the court that all the claims of the plaintiffs had been debunked by facts provided.
He reiterated that the suit should be dismissed as unnecessary.
Having heard all arguments, Justice Egwuatu fixed March 10 to deliver judgment.
Our correspondent reports that INEC had repeatedly held that only eligible voters with the PVCs would be allowed to vote in the 2023 presidential, governorship and parliamentary elections.
It was also reported that the plaintiffs, Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in the suit filed on Feb. 8 and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023, are asking the court to determine “Whether by the true construction and interpretation of section 10(2), 12(1) and 47 of the Electoral Act 2022; Section 77(2) and 132(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), and bearing in mind that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine introduced by INEC only needs the thumbprint and/or facial recognition to accredit a voter;
“Whether a person whose name appears in the electronic format in INEC’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of the register of voters and has been assigned a Voter’s Identification Number (VIN), can be said to be entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her TVC in the general election to be conducted by the defendant.
“Whether such a person can, as a consequence of the defendant’s inabilities, actions and omission be disenfranchised of the right and entitlement to vote in the 2023 general election.
The plaintiffs asked the court to grant the following reliefs should the questions be answered in their favour.
“A declaration that the plaintiff, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in it’s central database and manual, printed paper based record or hard copy format of INEC’s maintained register of voters, the plaintiff are entitled to vote using their TVC in the 2023 General Elections.
“An order compelling INEC to allow the plaintiff to vote using the TVC issued by INEC, the plaintiff having been duly captured in the national register of voter’s database.
“Any other order, the court may deem fit for all other Nigerians who are like the plaintiffs and have not gotten their permanent voter’s card, as the court may deem fit.