Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on Friday that the law says that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can decide how election results will be collated and transmitted.
In a ruling, Justice Nwite said that only INEC has the right to tell the Polling Unit Presiding Officer how to transfer election results, including the total number of accredited persons and the results of the ballot.
Also, Justice Nwite ruled that manually collating and transferring election results in the 2023 general elections does not violate the Election Act 2022.
The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the Labour Party against INEC, which was the only defendant.
The political party had asked the court to rule that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no authority to choose a manual method other than the electronic method specified in the applicable provisions of the Election Act 2022.
It sought the court to impose an order directing INEC to comply with the Electoral Act 2022 regarding the electronic transmission of election results for the general election.
In his decision on January 23, 2023, Justice Nwite said that the plaintiff misunderstood how the law worked and threw out the case.
Justice Nwite also pointed out that Section 60, subsection 5 of the Electoral Act 2022 allows for the transfer of election results, including the total number of registered voters from the polling unit, and that Section 62 (2) of the same Act allows for the compilation, maintenance, and continuous updating of the register of election results as a separate database for all polling unit results as compiled in all elections run by the commission.
Justice Nwite ruled that Section 62(2) says that the electoral body must keep this register of election results in an electronic format at its national headquarters.