The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) over the latter’s decision to extend the registration of voters to campuses of Senior High Schools which have not been gazetted as registration centres.
The NDC has filed the suit at the High Court (General Jurisdiction) Friday, listing four reliefs, along with orders the court shall deem fit, as well as punitive costs.
Specifically, the party is asking for:
a.A declaration that it is illegal and wrongful for the Defendant (Electoral Commission) to conduct registration at any place including campuses of a Senior High School which was not contained in a Gazette and notification in accordance with C.I. 91.
b.A declaration that any such registration of voters including students that take place at any ungazetted and unpublished registration centre including Senior High School campuses is null and void and of no legal effect.
c. An order excluding names of persons registered at those illegal centres from the register of voters.
d.An order for perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant whether by itself, officers, agents, or any other functionary personnel from carrying out registration of voters in any Senior High School or place not duly gazette or published in accordance with C.I. 91 as amended.
The EC announced Wednesday it was embarking on a two-day registration of in-school SHS students who qualify to vote from their various schools. The exercise began Friday, July 10, 2020.
According to the NDC, the Electoral Commission enacted the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2016, (CI .91), same amended by C.I 126 of 2020 to regulate its conduct of voter registration in accordance with the laws that set the Commission up.
Consequently, the EC published in a Gazette notification sometime in May, 2020, its intention to compile a new register of voters commencing 30th June, 2020 to end 6th August, 2020.
“The Plaintiff states that, the Defendant is enjoined by its Regulations (Regulation 2 especially sub regulation (3)) to publish in a Gazette not less than 21 days before the commencement of the registration exercise all registration centres or polling stations to be used.
Despite the clear provisions of the law already referred to above, Defendant on 7th July, 2020 by a letter invited the Plaintiff for an Inter Party Advisory Council Meeting, the Agenda of which meeting was to inform the Plaintiff and others of the Defendant’s intention to commence on Friday, 10th July, 2020 registration of Senior High School students on their school campuses.
“By the said decision of the Defendant, the Defendant has thereby unlawfully designated even SHS campuses that are not gazetted as registration centres or polling stations to be used contrary to the law.
“Plaintiff states that the conduct of the Defendant is unlawful and as an administrative body Defendant could only conduct its said activities in accordance with the law that established and or empowers it so to act in terms of article 23 of the Constitution 1992.
Plaintiff states further that unless the Court intervenes to stop the Defendant, it is likely to engage in an illegal act whose effect is that registration of voters would take place at illegally designated schools unknown to the Plaintiff during which a lot of fraud and illegality would take place without check and monitoring.”