A lawyer, Chijioke Ifediora and the African Democratic Party (ADP) have approached the Federal High Court in Akwa Ibom, urging the court to declare that it is unlawful for the Independent National Electoral Commission to stop registration for Permanent Voter Cards.
Ifediora and ADP in their suit, contended that by virtue of Section 9(1)(5)(6), Section 10(1)(2),(3) and Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act, INEC could not suspend the Continuous Voter Registration until 60 days to the election.
In the suit marked FHC/AWK/CS/28/2021, they urged the court to interpret Section 9(5) of the Electoral Act vis-à-vis the power of INEC to suspend the Continuous Voter Registration.
“Registration of voters should be annual. The Electoral Act 2010 as amended uses the word ‘Continuous Voter Registration’ should be akin to SIM registration or NIN (National Identity Number) enrolment immediately one turns 18 years. No provision for beginning Voter Registration in the Act but Voter Registration must stop 60 days to any election. See Section 9(1)(5)(6), Section 10(1)(2),(3) and Section 12(1) of the Electoral Act 2010.
“If ‘Continuous Voters Registration’ is not declared annual, let ‘Continuous Voter Registration’ be part of Timetable released by INEC or Notice of election published by INEC. See Section 9 (1), Section 10 (1),(2) and Section 30 Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“Court should declare voter and civic education and knowledge of sound democratic processes an annual exercise for INEC not only during election cycles. INEC is not meant for election cycles. Electoral enlightenment annually will reduce violence, increase political awareness and make election tense free. INEC should put its annual budget to use. See 2(a) and (b), Section 9(1), Section 10 (1) and (2) and Section 154 Electoral Act 2010.
“Court should declare being registered and empowered with a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) through continuous voter registration once eligible for a constitutional right. See Section 77(2), 178(5) and 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 10(1) & (3) and 12 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“Court should declare any holder of a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) a constitutional right to vote once there is no legal disability. Sections 77(2),178(5) and 179(2) of the 1999 constitutional as amended and Sections 10(1)&(3) and 12 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended,” part of the court documents read.