A Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to permit two eligible Nigerians to use Temporary Voter Cards to vote in the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections on March 18.
Judge Egwuatu based his ruling on the fact that the plaintiffs were properly registered and accounted for in INEC’s database.
In the lack of Permanent Voter Cards, two unhappy Nigerians filed a lawsuit requesting the use of TVCs in the general elections.
INEC emphasized that only qualified voters with PVCs will be permitted to vote in the presidential, gubernatorial, and parliamentary elections of 2023.
INEC’s position was challenged in court by Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwell in a lawsuit filed on February 8 and labeled FHC/ABJ/CS/180/2023.
The plaintiffs asked the court to grant a declaration that they are eligible to vote using their TVC in the 2023 general elections, as they have met all registration requirements and have been included in INEC’s central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of its maintained register of voters.
In addition, they requested an order ordering INEC to allow the plaintiff to vote using the TVC given by INEC, the plaintiff having been properly recorded in the national voter registration database.
Judge Egwuatu ruled that the lawsuit was not filed in a representative capacity.
“Since this action was not brought in a representative capacity, I cannot approve the third request of the plaintiffs’ application.”
The court ruled that neither the Constitution of 1999 nor the Electoral Act specified that only PVCs could be used, but that Section 47 of the Electoral Act provided for a voter’s card.
The plaintiffs had asked 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 considering that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine introduced by INEC only requires 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 in the manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of the register of voters and who has been assigned a Voter Identification Number (VIN) is entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her TVC in the general election to be conducted by the defendant.
“Whether this person can be denied the right and privilege to vote in the 2023 general election as a result of the defendant’s incapabilities, conduct, and omissions.