Obi support group sues INEC over suspension of voters registration
By Tunde Joshua
The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend the Continuous Voters Registration exercise on July 31, 2022, has been challenged in court.
Though many Nigerians, civil society organizations and political parties have severally demanded an extension of the exercise, the election management body stuck to the 2023 election guidelines and schedule of activities.
But the Peter Obi Support Network has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to compel INEC to reverse its decision to suspend the voters registration exercise and to declare as ultra vires fixing of timeline on the CVR exercise different from the timeline entrenched in the Electoral Act 2022.
In the suit with No FHC/ABJ/CS/1342/2022, the POSN through their counsel, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN) a senior advocate., submitted that sudden termination of the CVR exercise would disenfranchise millions of eligible voters during the 2023 presidential election.
Posers raised by the Plaintiffs for the court’s determination are that:
“Whether having regards to the combined provisions of Sections 76(2), 77(2), 116(2), 117(2), 132(2) & (5) and 178 (2) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) as well as Sections 9(1), 9 (6), 10(1) and 12(1) of the Electoral Acts, 2022, the Defendant can or has the right or latitude to stop the continuous voter registration on 31st July 2022, about over Seven and Half (71/2) months (208 days), or any other day not until ninety (90) days before the General Elections when there are millions of prospective voters including the Plaintiffs who have not Registered and are willing to do so.”
The POSN, therefore, sought the following reliefs:
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“A declaration that the defendant is expected pursuant to the provisions of Sections 76(2), 77(2), 116(2), 117(2), 132(2) & (5) and 178 (2) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) as well as Sections 9(1), 9 (6), 10(1) and 12(1) of the Electoral Acts, 2022, to continue voter registration, update and revision of voters’ register till 90 days before the General Election billed to take place on 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023.
“A declaration that it is the constitutional responsibility of the Defendant to make sure that every prospective Nigerian voter who has shown desire to register to vote is not deprived of their civil right to register and participate in the forthcoming General Election scheduled to take place on February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023.
“An order of the court directing the defendant to resume immediately the registration of new voters, updating and revision of the register of voters until at least 90 days to the general election slated to hold on February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023.”
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