An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow two voters to use Temporary Voters Cards for the upcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order on Thursday following a suit filed by two aggrieved Nigerians seeking to use their TVCs in the absence of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), they sought, among other reliefs, an order compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow them to vote using their TVCs issued by the defendant.
The suit: Kofoworola Olusegun and Wilson Allwel (the plaintiffs) had approached the court challenging INEC’s directive that only eligible voters with PVCs will be allowed to vote.
They asked the court to determine whether a person whose name appears in the electronic format in INEC’s central database can be said to be entitled to be accredited to vote with his/her TVC in the general election to be conducted by the defendant. They also sought the following reliefs:
- “A declaration that the plaintiff, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in its central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of INEC’s maintained register of voters, the plaintiff is entitled to vote using their TVC in the 2023 General Elections.
- “An order compelling INEC to allow the plaintiff to vote using the TVC issued by INEC, the plaintiff having been duly captured in the national register of voter’s database.
- “Any other order, the court may deem fit for all other Nigerians who are like the plaintiffs and have not gotten their permanent voter’s card, as the court may deem.”
Court order: after listening to arguments from parties in the suit, the judge granted two prayers of the plaintiffs.
The court however refused to grant the third prayer which sought to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity. The judge said:
- “An order is made compelling the defendant (INEC) to allow the plaintiffs to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards issued by the defendant, the plaintiffs having been duly captured in the National Register of Voter’s database.
- ”A declaration is made by this court that the plaintiffs, having fulfilled all necessary legal requirements to register and having consequently been captured in the defendant’s (INEC’s) central database and manual, printed paper-based record or hard copy format of the defendant’s maintained Register of Voters, the plaintiffs are entitled to vote using their Temporary Voter Cards in the forthcoming 2023 General Election,”
- “This suit having not been brought in a representative capacity, I find myself unable to grant any relief pursuant to prayer three of the plaintiffs’ application,” the judge held.