Court judgement: INEC must reopen voters’ registration — Prof. Mahmud
A legal practitioner, Professor Abdul Mahmud, generally known on social media as “Dr Great Oracle”, has contended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must reopen the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) “it unlawfully closed a few months ago”.
Professor Mahmud made the clarification in a series of tweets following the court judgement issued on Monday by Justice Donatus Okorowo Federal High Court, Abuja, in Abarambi & Ors v INEC, with file number FHC/ABJ/CS/1325/22.
Ruling, Justice Okorowo stated that Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2022 allows parties to still submit names of candidates that emerge from substitution primaries not later than 90 days to the election.
The judge stated that INEC, by its own manuals, cannot limit the time provided for by the Electoral Act.
Reacting to the judgement, Mahmud urged INEC to reopen the CVR.
He noted that the 7 million voters the foreclosed registrations unlawfully invalidated must be allowed by the operation of Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 to complete their registration.
Tweeting, he said:
“The judgment delivered yesterday by Justice Okorowo in Abarambi & Ors v INEC (FHC/ABJ/CS/1325/22) has ramifications for CVR and computation of time.
“Here’s the summary of the judgment:
“That INEC Guidelines cannot contract the 90 days allowed by S.31 of the Electoral Act 2022 for substitution of candidates.
“The electoral umpire, by its manual, cannot limit the time provided for by the Electoral Act”.
“This judgment, until it is set aside by the Court of Appeal, forms the precedent for interpreting Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“INEC must, on the basis of this judgment, reopen the CVR which it unlawfully closed a few months ago.
“The 7m voters whose registrations it has already unlawfully invalidated must be allowed by the operation of Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 to complete registration.
“To do otherwise is to inflict violence on Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act and disenfranchise those Nigerians.
“Good morning from the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine,” he concluded.
It could be recalled that a group of Nigerians, under the aegis of Peter Obi Support Network (POSN), had sued INEC over its failure to comply with the constitutional provision that requires the commission to continue voter registration until at least 90 days to the general elections.
In a suit, file no. FHC/ABJ/CS/1342/2022, filed on their behalf by Abuja law firm, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN & Co., the plaintiffs argued that INEC’s abrupt termination of the voter registration exercise would disenfranchise millions of eligible voters during the 2023 presidential election.
The suit filed at the Federal High Court Abuja on Friday, August 5, 2022, sought, amongst other things, an order compelling INEC to reverse its earlier directive halting the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise across the country on July 31, 2022.
It further asked the court to declare as ultra vires, the commission’s decision to put a timeline on the CVR exercise outside the timeline provided by the 2022 Electoral Act, as amended. Read more.
Read the full story story below: