The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has requested that a Federal High Court issues an order that would bar the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from postponing elections at polling units where smart card readers malfunction.
Backstory: The suit, dated February 11 and filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenges the stipulation in INEC’s guidelines that polling would be postponed until card readers are available to authenticate the identity of the voters at the polling unit.
The guidelines provide that if gadgets are not available before 2 p.m on election day, the exercise at any unit would be shifted to the following day.
The party expressed the view that the sections of the INEC guidelines prescribing the use of the card readers negate section 49 of the Electoral Act.
The party has also requested for the High Court to treat the matter with urgency, while describing it as a matter which should be settled before February 16.
The PDP demanded for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from implementing paragraph 10 (a) and (b) of its regulations for the conduct of the 2019 elections or in any manner, whatsoever postponing voting at any polling unit, voting point settlement or voting point on account of malfunctioning of smart card readers.”
Bottom line: It is unclear why the PDP has rushed to file this suit at this time when the INEC regulations were released several weeks ago.