A recent ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja has sparked controversy and raised questions about the process of collating and transmitting election results in Nigeria. The court, presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite, held that it is only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is empowered by law to determine the mode of collating and transmitting election results.

The ruling, which came in response to a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) with INEC as the only defendant, has been the subject of much debate in the country. The LP had argued that INEC did not have the power to choose the manual method of collation and transmission of election results, and that it should comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, which provides for electronic transmission of results 

The court, however, dismissed the suit, holding that the manual collation and transmission of results during the 2023 general elections is in line with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The judgment also held that INEC has the sole prerogative to direct how Polling Unit Presiding Officers should transfer election results, including the total number of accredited voters and results of the ballot.

The ruling has sparked mixed reactions from different quarters. While some see it as a victory for INEC and a step towards ensuring free and fair elections in the country, others argue that it is a setback for electoral reform and a missed opportunity to improve the electoral process.

Those who support the ruling believe that it will prevent potential manipulation of the electoral process by external actors and ensure that the results of elections are accurate and reliable. They argue that electronic transmission of results, while useful, is not foolproof and can be vulnerable to hacking and other forms of interference.

On the other hand, those who oppose the ruling argue that it is a missed opportunity to improve the electoral process and ensure greater transparency and accountability. They argue that the manual method of collating and transmitting results can be prone to errors and manipulation, and that the electronic method is more secure and reliable.

Despite the controversy surrounding the ruling, there is no doubt that it has significant implications for the upcoming general elections in 2023. The decision to use the manual method of collating and transmitting results means that INEC will have to put in place measures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results, and prevent any potential manipulation of the process.

Overall, the ruling highlights the need for continued efforts towards electoral reform in Nigeria. While the country has made significant progress in recent years, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the electoral process is transparent, fair, and accountable to the Nigerian people.



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