A Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) from ending voter registration on 30 June 2022.
Honourable Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon( Court 10) moment granted an order of interim instruction following the hail of an argument on stir exparte by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
SERAP and 185 concerned Nigerians had beforehand this month filed the action against INEC asking the court to declare unconstitutional, illegal, and inharmonious with transnational norms the failure of the electoral body to extend the deadline for namer enrollment to allow eligible Nigerians to exercise their rights.
In the suit, SERAP had asked the court for an order restraining INEC, its agents, privies, assigns, or any other person( s) claiming through it from discontinuing the nonstop choosers enrollment exercise from the 30th June 2022 or any other date pending the hail and determination of the stir on notice.
The suit is suspended to 29th June, 2022 for the hail of the stir on Notice for interlocutory instruction. The suit followed the decision by INEC to extend the deadline for the conduct of primaries by political parties by six days, from June 3 to June 9.
But the commission failed to also extend the onlinepre-registration which ended May 30 2022 and the nonstop Voter Registration( CVR) ending 30 June 2022.
In the suit number FHC/ L/ CS/1034/2022 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and transferred to Abuja, SERAP is asking the court to determine whether the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for namer enrollment isn’t a violation of Nigerian Constitution, 1999( as amended), the Electoral Act, and transnational norms.
SERAP is asking the court for a protestation that the failure of INEC to extend the deadline for namer enrollment is a violation of eligible Nigerians ’ rights to share freely in their own government, equivalency and equal protection.
SERAP is also asking the court for an order of mandamus to direct and impel INEC to extend namer enrollment by a minimum of three months and take effective measures to insure that eligible Nigerians are suitable to register to exercise their right to bounce in the 2023 general choices.
The suit, read in part Administering unrealistic namer enrollment deadline while extending the deadline for party primaries would deny and dock the indigenous and transnational mortal rights of eligible choosers.
INEC authorizations ought to be exercised in a fair, just andnon-discriminatory manner. The extension of namer enrollment would insure that Nigerian choosers are treated inversely and fairly. The future of Nigeria’s republic depends on it.
Choosers are also critical stakeholders in the electoral process. Treating all eligible Nigerian choosers fairly would advance the people’s right to bounce and to share in their own government.
INEC mustn’t only be independent and unprejudiced in the exercise of its indigenous and statutory liabilities, but must also be seen to be independent and unprejudiced.
Extending the namer enrollment exercise would also bolster namer confidence in the electoral process.
One of the people’s most sacred rights is the right to bounce. The commission has a indigenous and statutory responsibility to insure the effective exercise of the right of all eligible choosers to share in their own government.
Extending the deadline for party primaries without furnishing acceptable time and occasion for eligible choosers to register and share in the 2023 general choices would amount to an illegal and discriminative treatment of Nigerian choosers, and violate other mortal rights.
Extending the namer enrollment deadline would give further time for eligible choosers, including youthful people, the senior, people living with disability, as well as those occupant in countries facing security challenges and living in IDP camps to share in the 2023 choices.
Extending the deadline for namer enrollment would be entirely harmonious with indigenous and transnational norms, and the Electoral Act. Any similar extension would also not impact negatively on INEC’s election timetable and conditioning.
The public perception of the independence and equity of INEC is essential for erecting public confidence in the electoral process, and icing the credibility and legality of the 2023 choices.
Where Nigerians have dubieties about the independence and equity of INEC, they’re more likely to have lower confidence in the electoral process thereby undermining republic.
Extending the deadline for namer enrollment would also be justified, given reports of challenges in the namer enrollment exercise, especially for youthful people, the senior, persons living with disabilities, and those occupant in countries facing security challenges and living in internally displaced persons( IDP) camps.
The will of the people is expressed through popular choices. This requires that people should be swung acceptable time and occasion to register to bounce.
Extending the namer enrollment deadline is pivotal for promoting the independence and equity of INEC and erecting public confidence in the electoral process.
The Nigerian Constitution 1999( as amended) provides in Section 14( 1)( c) that, the participation by the people in their government shall be assured in agreement with the vittles of this Constitution.
Section 9( 6) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that ‘ the enrollment of choosers, streamlining and modification of the Register of Choosers under this section shall not stop not latterly than 90 days before any election covered by this Act.
Also, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples ’ Rights, and the African Charter on Democracy, choices and Governance guarantee the right to political participation.
These mortal rights covenants also bear countries parties including Nigeria to insure the independence and equity of public electoral bodies responsible for the operation of choices, as well as to promote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation.