By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA-The Hope Democratic Party, HDP, has prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order of mandamus to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to adopt electronic voting system for the 2019 general election.
The party equally sought an order of mandamus to compel the National Assembly to initiate and pass laws that will prohibit politically motivated violence and deaths during elections in the country.
The plaintiff, in the suit it lodged through its lawyer, Mr. Iji Emmanuel, contended that unless INEC is compelled to adopt the e- voting system, human errors in voting, vote collation, counting, and vote stealing, would continue to characterize elections in Nigeria.
Alternatively, the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/617/2016, urged the court to restrain/prohibit INEC from planning or conducting any election until it has fully adopted the electronic voting system.
Other defendants in the suit are the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the Federation, as well as the Chairman, National Assembly Constitution Review Committee.
It prayed the court to among other things, determine; “Whether the constitutionally provided duty of the National Assembly to enact laws for peace order and good governance under section 4 of the 1999 constitution does not place a duty or review the electoral laws to provide that politically motivated deaths at elections must result in the prohibition and barring of identified sponsors and candidates at such elections to entrench a culture of peaceful elections in Nigeria.
“Whether by virtue of the Amended Electoral Act 2015, granting the use of other devices for election, the Defendants are not under the duty and owe any obligation and or compunction in the circumstances of our electoral woes and experiences of adopt in full for all future election henceforth, electronic voting system to check and or eliminate human errors in voting, vote collations, counting and vote stealing all such identified electoral vices resulting to politically motivated violence and deaths.
“Whether the 2nd Defendant are not under a duty in the performances and exercise of its powers as constitutionally provided and the Electoral Acts 2010 and advise of the AGF to make public its reports, findings and initiate and implement the sanction of possible proscription against major political parties and defaulters/culprits reportedly engaged in gross breach of the law limiting campaign funds to restore sanctity and orderliness at electioneering campaign in Nigeria in the light of the national embarrassment over the revelations of the arm funds diversions and the fuel subsidy scandals running into looted and diverted trillions of naira deployed for the funding of 2011 and 2015 presidential elections”.
In a 26 paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summon, the plaintiff claimed that: “The recurrent politically motivated deaths in the land over electoral frauds and malpractices and the ‘win at all cost’ syndrome by political actors without any reprimand or sanctions of any kind by the INEC and AGF in our political climate and background possess danger and stunts National Development.
“The electronic voting system as already passed into law in the 2015 Amended Electoral laws require to be implemented to benefit all Nigeria in line with International Best Electoral practices.
“That the laws in the land have been grossly violated without the appropriate intervention by bodies changed with such duties including the defendants in this case to the detriment of the Plaintiff.
“That the Justice of this case require a due interpretation and construction of the sections of the relevant statues and laws to protect, and enforce the due observation and compliance to the letters of the laws and restore the citizenry rights to good governance and rule of law.
“That unless orders are made and granted as sought in this suit, it is unlikely the plaintiff and citizens of Nigeria will get any full benefits of the NASS and INEC duties and activities as demanded and required of them by law.
“That the defendants are not prejudiced nor suffered in any form in the interpretation and construction or grant of this application which seeks an ordered and disciplined society and polity to uphold and respect the laws of the land and make necessary laws for good governance and conduct of political affairs in Nigeria”, it added.