On November 22, 2022, the Abuja division of the Federal High Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resume the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by four Nigerians who accused the commission of depriving Nigerians the right to register to vote ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Here’s what you need to know about this latest drama.
This isn’t the first time INEC is getting sued
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also sued INEC in June for planning to end registrations on June 30, 2022. INEC extended the deadline to July 31 to accommodate the case until the court ruled in the commission’s favour on July 13.
In the ruling, the court noted that INEC was at liberty to pick a deadline of its choice as long as it’s not in conflict with the law.
But what does the law say??
The 2022 Electoral Act stipulates, “The registration of voters, updating and revision of the Register of Voters under this section shall stop not later than 90 days before any election.”
In its defence in the SERAP case, INEC said the registration ended in June because it needed time to update and revise the register of voters before the 90-day deadline set by the law. That’s why the judge in that case ruled that INEC can set its own deadline as it deems fit to accommodate all other processes involved in voter registration.
Since the registration ended in July, the commission has cleaned up the register of voters and even posted it online for public review.
But the July court ruling didn’t stop other Nigerians from suing INEC over the same issue of ending the registration early. The new November 22, 2022 ruling is a result of one of such lawsuits.
What will INEC do?
Now that INEC has been served with a fresh court order to resume PVC registration, Nigerians are expecting to see the commission’s reaction. If INEC obeys the order, there are only four days left for Nigerians to register before the 90-day deadline in the Electoral Act is activated.
We’re monitoring the situation closely and will spill the tea as soon as it drops!