A legal practitioner, Mathias Emeribe, has backed a judgement by the Abuja Federal High Court ordering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the use of temporary voter cards in the March 18 governorship and state assembly elections.
Reacting to the judgement on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Emeribe described the court’s decision as the restoration of the rights of Nigerian registered voters.
“After going through the judgement of the court, it was clear that what the court did was to restore the rights of Nigerians, provided you have attained the age of 18 to vote or be voted for.
“It will be absurd that after having gone through the rigours of registration then the body in question that is vested with the power and duties to get you registered and issued with the necessary PVC, would come out after all efforts made at even getting the PVC and they are telling you that Temporary Voter Card (TVC) issued to you cannot suffice.
“Meanwhile the practical effect of what we have seen on the field is that for you to vote, it is the BVAS itself that will identify you as the authentic owner of that name and the person who actually was registered in that polling unit. So, it is absurd that INEC will be insisting that if you don’t have the Permanent Voter Card you cannot vote,” Emeribe said.
While delivering the judgement in a suit filed by two concerned Nigerians seeking the use of TVCs in the general elections in the absence of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), Justice Obiora Egwuatu, said the order to allow use of TVCs was made on the grounds that the plaintiffs were duly registered and captured in INEC’s database.
The judge, however, said that he was unable to grant prayer three, which was to allow every eligible voter with a TVC to vote, because the suit was not filed in a representative capacity.
But in a swift reaction to the Abuja High Court judgement, INEC has indicated plans to appeal the judge’s directive to allow the use of TVCs for elections.
In a statement on Thursday, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, expressed the intention of the commission to approach the appellate court.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been served a copy of the judgement delivered today by the Federal High Court, Abuja division which ordered it to allow two plaintiffs to vote with their Temporary Voter’s Card.
“The Commission is taking immediate steps to appeal against the judgement of the trial court),” the statement read.