An Abuja-based lawyer, Bob James, has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the delay in uploading the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections from polling units to the IReV portal.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, the plaintiff listed INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants.
Mr James argued that INEC was under â€œstatutory duty to upload electronically on its portal the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections held on 25 Februaryâ€¦immediatelyâ€ from every polling station across Nigeria.
Citing section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 and section 38 (1) of INEC regulations, the plaintiff urged the court to determine whether the electoral umpireâ€™s â€œfailure or refusal to upload the results from each polling unit on the day of the election to the INEC IRev portalâ€ does not nullify the polls.
The plaintiff urged the court to declare that INEC was under statutory obligation by virtue of the Electoral Act and its own guidelines to upload results from each polling station â€œimmediately after counting and recording on Form EC 8A on election day.â€
Mr James prayed the court to hold that INECâ€™s failure to upload the results was a violation of its own guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
â€œA declaration that the presidential election held by the 1st respondent (INEC) on 25 February 2023, is null and void and of no effect whatsoever, the result of same not having been declared in accordance with the law,â€ he said.
In the court filings seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr James said he has a duty as a lawyer and Nigerian to ensure that public institutions â€œentrusted with constitutional powers to conduct elections do so strictly in compliance with the law.â€
He contended that more than 90 per cent of the 25 February election results were not uploaded on the INEC IRev portal as of midnight on the day of the polls.
Referencing paragraph 38 of INEC regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 elections, the plaintiff said an electoral presiding officer â€œshall use the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A (election result paper) to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) as prescribed by the commission.â€
Mr James further pointed out that the use of the word â€“ shall- puts a statutory responsibility on INEC to electronically transmit the election results from every polling station in Nigeria to its portal.
â€œWhere a law prescribes the procedure to be followed in the performance of an act and that procedure is not complied with, the performance of the act in the circumstance is a nullity,’â€ the plaintiff argued while citing the decision of Walter Onnoghen, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in the case of SPDC Nigeria Ltd v Agbara (2019).
The case has not been assigned to a judge for a hearing.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on 1 March declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, winner of the presidential election.
Mr Tinubu scored 8.8 million votes to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).
But Atiku and Mr Obi are challenging the outcome of the polls.
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They are contesting INECâ€™s failure to electronically upload election results from the polling units, among other alleged irregularities during the conduct of the elections on 25 February.
INEC has since uploaded the results from over 170,000 polling units out of about 176,000 spread across the country.