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JUST-IN: 6 states ask Supreme Court to nullify presidential election

Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Sokoto states have dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court over the conduct of the February 25, 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The suit filed by the Attorneys General of the six states has the Attorney General of the Federation as sole respondent.The plaintiffs on February 28 predicated their case on the grounds that, “The collation of the national election results from the 36 states of the Federation, and that of the Federal Capital Territory, for the said 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections have not been carried out in compliance with the mandatory provisions of relevant sections of the Electoral Act, 2022; the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022, made pursuant to the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022; and the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023.”

In the suit filed by their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the states said the agents and officials of the Federal Government and INEC failed to transmit the collated result as prescribed by the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022; the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022; and the INEC Manual for Election Officials requiring transmission of the results by the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System in flagrant breach of the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022; the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023.

They stated that, “non-compliance with the due process of law has led to a widespread agitation, violent protests, displeasure, and disapproval from a wide spectrum of the Nigerian populace, including international observers, political parties, well-meaning Nigerians and former Head of States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.The plaintiffs argued that the federal government through INEC, “is empowered by law to correct the elections due to technical glitches and errors arising from the conduct of the elections with substantial effect on the electoral process in line with the provisions of Section 47 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022; and other relevant sections thereof.

“Whilst queries were being raised as to the failure or deliberate refusal of INEC to transmit the results electronically, INEC suddenly pulled down its portal harbouring the Regulations and Guidelines, thus leaving the plaintiffs in the dark“Most Nigerians, including the governments and peoples of Adamawa State, Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Delta State, Edo State, and Sokoto State, are entitled to a proper and electoral lawful process and procedure that guarantees a free, fair, transparent and credible election”.

Amongst the issues raised for determination by the apex court were: Whether having regard to the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023 thereof, the electronic transmission of votes collated at polling units and the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)

“Whether the Federal Government of Nigeria through presiding officers of its executive body, Independent National Electoral Commission was bound to electronically transmit or transfer Polling Unit Results in Form EC8A using BVAS by uploading Scanned Copy of the said Unit Results to the Independent National Electoral Commission Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in the course of the General Elections held on the 25th of February, 2023 throughout the Federation.

“Whether the Federal Government of Nigeria in the recently held Presidential and National Assembly elections conducted nationwide on 25th February, 2023 through INEC, complied with the mandatory provisions of extant laws, INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Presidential Elections, 2022″.Whether the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Defendant and INEC to electronically transmit or transfer Polling Unit Results in Form EC8A using BVAS by uploading Scanned Copy of the said Unit Result to the Independent National Electoral Commission Result Viewing Portal (IReV) after the counting and announcement of the Polling Units results on 25th of February, 2023, violates the provisions of Sections 25; 47(2); 60 (1), (2), (4) & (5); 62; 64(4)(a) & (b); 70; and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the presidential election.

“Whether the failure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through INEC to comply with the provisions of Section 60 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Regulations and Guidelines for Conduct of Elections, 2022 made pursuant to the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the FRN, 1999, as amended, in collating and announcing the results of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections render the already announced results and the elections conducted as a whole a nullity”.

“Whether the entire results of the presidential election conducted on the 25th of February, 2023, as announced by the Chairman of INEC at the National Collation Centre, Abuja in flagrant provision of Sections 25; 47(2); 60 (1), (2), (4) & (5); 62; 64(4)(a) & (b); 70; and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the Presidential Election, were valid.”

The plaintiffs urged the apex court to declare, “that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through INEC was bound to electronically transmit or transfer Polling Unit Results in Form EC8A using BVAS by uploading Scanned Copy of the said Unit Result to the Independent National Electoral Commission Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in the course of the General Elections held on the 25th of February, 2023 throughout the Federation in compliance with the provision of Sections 25; 47(2); 60 (1), (2), (4) & (5); 62; 64(4)(a) & (b); 70; and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the presidential election.”

They are seeking “A declaration that the entire results of the Presidential Election conducted on the 25th of February, 2023 announced by the Chairman of INEC at the National Collation Centre, Abuja, in flagrant violation of the provisions of Sections 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the Presidential Election, were valid.”

The plaintiffs urged the apex court to declare, “that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through INEC was bound to electronically transmit or transfer Polling Unit Results in Form EC8A using BVAS by uploading Scanned Copy of the said Unit Result to the Independent National Electoral Commission Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in the course of the General Elections held on the 25th of February, 2023 throughout the Federation in compliance with the provision of Sections 25; 47(2); 60 (1), (2), (4) & (5); 62; 64(4)(a) & (b); 70; and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the presidential election.”

They are seeking “A declaration that the entire results of the Presidential Election conducted on the 25th of February, 2023 announced by the Chairman of INEC at the National Collation Centre, Abuja, in flagrant violation of the provisions of Sections 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the presidential election.”

They are seeking “A declaration that the entire results of the Presidential Election conducted on the 25th of February, 2023 announced by the Chairman of INEC at the National Collation Centre, Abuja, in flagrant violation of the provisions of Sections 25 of the Electoral Act, 2022, governing the 2023 nationwide general elections, particularly paragraphs 38 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022; and paragraphs 2.8.4; 2.9.0; and 2.9.1 of the INEC Manual for Election Officials, 2023, for the conduct of the Presidential Election, were invalid, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.”

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