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It’s late to resume voter registration, court rules

On Tuesday, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja denied the prayer of four plaintiffs who had filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission for suspending the voter registration process on July 31.
According to Justice Inyang Ekwo’s decision, INEC would have only had a few days to continue the registration process if it had followed the Electoral Act’s 90-day window of opportunity.
The plaintiffs—Mr. Samuel Oluwakemi, Chief Charles Okafor, Anajat Salmat, and Earnest Stanley—asked the court to direct the electoral body to resume voter registration “208 days before the elections of 2023.”
The suit read:In the case of FHC/ABJ/CS/1343/2022, INEC was the only defendant.
According 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, the plaintiffs had sought a declaration that the defendant was expected to continue the voter registration, update, and revision of the voters register until 90 days before the general
They also requested an order of the court directing the defendant to resume immediately the registration of new voters, update, and revision of the voter register until at least 90 days before the general election, which is scheduled to take place on February 25, 2023, and March 11, 2023. In addition, they requested a declaration that it is the defendant’s constitutional responsibility to ensure that every prospective Nigerian voter who has shown the desire to register to vote is not deprived of their civil right to register and participate in the upcoming general elections.
In its argument, INEC argued that the Continuous Voter Registration exercise was terminated at the time so that permanent voter cards could be printed on time and distributed in earnest.
Justice Ekwo upheld two of the plaintiff’s requests in his ruling, stating that “INEC is expected pursuant to the provisions of sections 76 (2), 77 (2), 116 (2), 117 (2), 132 (2) & (5) and 178 (2) and (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
He also said that the defendant has a constitutional duty to make sure that every potential Nigerian voter who has said they want to register to vote doesn’t lose their civil right to register and vote in the upcoming general elections.
Nonetheless, the court held that going by the date of the decision, the court can’t give help number three as INEC would have had “only a couple of days from 90 days before the overall appointment of February 25, 2023 and Walk 11, 2023.”
Related News: Group Court orders INEC to resume voter registration 24 sue INEC, claiming seven million unregistered voters The People’s Democratic Party applauded the decision and urged the electoral umpire to comply with the order prohibiting it from continuing the voter registration process.
Debo Ologunagba, the PDP’s national publicity secretary, stated, “We have always insisted that INEC should do everything possible to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible are captured in the voter register in order to enable them to exercise their civic responsibility.”The law must be followed if, in its wisdom, the court determines that INEC has not yet extended the exercise.We anticipate that INEC will adhere to the law.
In a similar vein, Chief Dele Momodu, the PDP Campaign Council’s Director of Strategic Communications, praised the court, stating that “We are a law abiding party and our candidate, Atiku Abubakar has always been an advocate of the rule of law.”Therefore, we welcome the court’s decision that INEC cannot continue the process and anticipate INEC to do the same.
Festus Keyamo, the spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, issued a warning that it is too late for a court to order the electoral body to resume the process.
Keyamo expressed concern regarding the lateness of the request for the registration exercise to resume and the potential difficulty in enforcing it.
He stated, “I read that people are asking for the exercise to be continued until 90 days before the election, but whatever INEC decides or does within the confines of the law, we in the APC are okay with it.”
The point is that it is difficult to enforce even the judgment itself as I speak with you.This is because the 90 days are rapidly approaching.I believe we are just a few days away from the election’s 90 days.
Abayomi Arabambi, the Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary, fought the order by stating that INEC cannot afford to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians who might still be captured.
“INEC can still proceed with the CVR,” he stated.They will be delighted to be included, even if only two or three million Nigerians register.Millions of dollars can be captured in the days remaining before the 90-day limit if the commission is persuaded that it does not wish to deny anyone their right to vote.
However, Ladipo Johnson, a spokesperson for the New Nigeria Peoples Party Presidential Campaign Council, urged caution, stating that whatever INEC plans to do must be completed before the constitutional deadline for closing the voter register.

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