August 14, (THEWILL) – Constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), before the Federal High Court division in Abuja over its refusal to further extend the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise beyond July 31, 2022.
The suit has Ozekhome and Abubakar Damisa Dani (Esq), as plaintiffs while INEC is the sole defendant in the case.
An affidavit of urgency deposed to by Sani, contended that while INEC is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of conducting the registration of voters in respect of the forthcoming general elections on February 25, 2023. The Commission, however stopped the exercise on July 31, 2020 thereby closing the window for him and other Nigerians to register and exercise their franchise.
The Plaintiffs, claimed that they and as well as millions of Nigerians are keenly interested in voting in the general election but cannot do so unless they are duly registered by INEC.
Ozekhome, urged the court to determine whether having regard to the combined provisions of Section 9(6) and 10(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, which mandates INEC to continue registration of voters up to 90(ninety) days to the date of the election, the defendant can stop or terminate registration of eligible voters on 31st July, 2022 which is more than six months to the next general elections scheduled to commence on 25th February 2022.
Part of the reliefs he is seeking reads: “A declaration that the stoppage of the Continuous Voter’s Registration by the defendant on the 31st of July amounts to disenfranchisement of citizens who have attained or will attain the age of 18 years before 28th day of November 2022 being 90 days to the date of the general elections scheduled to hold on 25th February 2023.
“A mandatory injunction compelling the defendant to forthwith, extend the Continuous Voter’s Registration till 27th day of November 2022 which is 90 days to the next general elections as provided by Sections 9(6),10(1) and 12(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022.”
Despite call for INEC to open its registration portal, the commission had insisted it has to bring this process to an end, because “we cannot go on ad infinitum, our electoral process is constitutionally and legally circumscribed, and if we continue with this voters’ registration exercise, ad infinitum, it will do damage to our timeline and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections.”