…Commission seeks practice direction
After the initial relief that greeted the 2022 Electoral Act, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has picked holes in the new Act that may derail the 2023 general elections.
The Commission is seeking practice direction to deal with some of the provisions of the Electoral Act that are considered as inimical to the electoral process.
One of such provisions identified by the Commission that should be revisited, is the removal of issues relating to pre-election matters from the High Courts and domiciling it with the Federal High Court.
The Commission said it will engage the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to get practice direction that will make it possible for cases to be determined where the cause of action arose.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, while highlighting the challenges that may confront the implementation of the new Electoral Act, hinted that, “one of the big issues that the new Electoral Act has made is to remove issues around pre-election matter from the High Courts and the High of the FCT and it has domiciled it with the Federal High Court.
“Now we need to get back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court relating to having a practice direction that makes it possible for issues and cases to be determined where the cause of action arose so that we do not have the same situation where a political party will conduct its party primary in Anambra and then issues around the party primaries will be determined by a Federal High Court in Borno State.
“We need to have a practice direction that enables some level of order and sanity to be embedded in the operations of the several Courts as we continue towards this contentious period in our electoral process.
“The Electoral Act has just come into force and there are many issues that have been embedded in the Act we also need to begin a robust training of our Staff in relation to some of the issues embedded in the new Act.
“One fundamental issue that bothers the Commission is since the new Electoral Act has changed the trajectory of collation and transmission of election results, we have noticed that violence have left the collation centres back to the polling units and the Commission is really concerned about that, so we are going to have a high level on how to protect our Staff especially at the level of the polling units because the political parties know that results are now transmitted directly from the polling units to the first level of collation and that those transmitted results are going to be used for the purpose of collation and that if there are discrepancies between the electronically transmitted and manually transmitted results that the BVAS will be called into question in terms of interrogating it to know how many people that were accredited”.