The All Progressives Congress (APC) has applied to join a suit filed by
a group, Society for Advancement and Protection of Public Rights (SAPPR), seeking to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) from using permanent voter’s card (PVC) for the forthcoming elections.
The party has filed an application before the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying to be joined as a defendant in the suit filed by SAPPR – which favoured the use of only the temporary voter’s card (TVC).
On Tuesday, the party’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who led a team comprising of eight Senior Advocates to the Federal High Court, Abuja, applied for time to allow service of his client’s application on INEC ( 1st defendant) in the suit.
The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/06/2015 also has the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as defendant.
The plaintiff is seeking to restrain INEC from using the PVC and card readers for the next general elections on the ground that they were likely to lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.
It is contention that since INEC had not engaged in trial application of the PVC and card readers, they could not guarantee their effectiveness.
The group wants the court to among others, direct INEC to revert to the use of TVCs, which had been tested during previous elections.
Fagbemi was accompanied by former AGF, Akin Olujinmi, Charles Edosomwan, Kola Awodein, Emeka Ngige, James Ocholi, Femi Falana, Funke Aboyade and H. O. Afolabi (all SANs).
The plaintiff was represented by Ezenwa Alumnu, INEC was not represented, while N. S. Olusola represented the AGF.
In an affidavit supporting its joinder application, APC contended that the use of PVC was to ensure a hitch-free and fair election, and to prevent rigging of election.
It argued that should the court grant the plaintiffs prayers, its interest would be adversely affected, because as a registered political party with candidates contesting the next elections, the use of TVC would promote manipulation.
The APC said it intended to challenge the suit, because “its grant would jeopadize the preparations of the applicant (APC) towards the 2015 general elections.”
It said it has good and justiciable defence against the suit.
APC said if joined in the suit, it intended to challenge the plaintiff’s locus standi to challenge the use of PVC, because it is not a registered voter.
The party said it also intended to challenge the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati has adjourned hearing to February 23 at 1pm. He also ordered the service of hearing notice on INEC.