The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have approached the Appellate Court to grant leave for them to appeal as interested parties against the judgement of the Federal High Court, Lagos which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically upload the results of the Saturday’s governorship and state house of assembly elections from the polling units to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
In documents put before the court by its lead counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), the APC is also seeking a consequential order staying the execution of the judgment of Justice Peter Lifu delivered on March 8, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal for which the leave is sought.
The judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos was delivered at the instance of the Labour Party, its governorship candidate, and 40 others.
The APC says despite not being joined in the suit, it has deemed it fit to appeal the judgement because it is aggrieved by the decision which it says will affect its interest as a sponsor in the same elections as the SDP.
The APC’s application for leave to appeal the judgment was brought pursuant to Order 4 Rules (1), (4) & (6), Order 6 Rules (1) &(2) of the Court of Appeal Rules, and Rule 6 of the Election Judicial Proceedings Practice Directions 2022 as well as other relevant statutes.
The APC noted that the Labour Party had earlier filed a suit against INEC at the Federal High Court, Abuja where it raised the same issues and sought similar reliefs which it re-litigated and re-sought at the lower court.
The APC also noted that by the judgment of the Abuja court of 23rd January 2023, INEC is at liberty to prescribe the manner in which election results can or ought to be transmitted by virtue of sections 50(2) and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022
The party said the “decision of the Federal High Court Suit No.: FHC/ABJ/CS/1454/2022 between Labour Party v. INEC is valid and subsisting having not been appealed against by any person”.
The APC also noted the decision of Justice Lifu in Lagos to the effect that for the conduct of the gubernatorial and house of assembly elections in Lagos State, INEC officials must electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units direct to the collation system’.
It says, “the decision of the court has given rise to confusion and uncertainties as to whether INEC has the power to determine the procedure for the conduct of election in the upcoming gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections slated to hold on 18t March 2023, in Lagos State, in light of the two conflicting decisions of the same Federal High Court”.
The APC is therefore seeking the leave of the Court of Appeal to timeously resolve this issue which bears upon the conduct of elections as it affects the interest of the applicant as a registered political party cleared to contest for elective offices in the forthcoming gubernatorial and house of assembly elections in Nigeria and in Lagos State.